St Thomas Sunday
(from Archbishop Dimitri Of Dallas And The South)
….Near the end of the Gospel passage, after Thomas exclaims, "My Lord and my God," Jesus says to him, "Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." Faith: this is the way that God would have us come to Him. "Faith," says St. Paul, "is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) People sometimes lament the fact that they did not live in Apostolic times when it would have been possible to see for themselves and talk face to face with the Incarnate Lord. In the minds of many, this would constitute tangible proof of God’s existence and alleviate any doubts concerning Christ. But would it? Israel was prepared for almost two thousand years for the Messiah’s advent. Miracles were performed by Him in the peoples’ midst. Yet, in the end, those who heard and saw Jesus for themselves wound up shouting, "Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him." Only a few individuals stood with Him at the foot of the Cross. One really has to wonder seriously if we would have been any different given the chance. For regardless of how and when the Lord chooses to reveal Himself it is always possible, in freedom and because of sin, to explain away that revelation.
A primary emphasis here is that the historical period in which one exists makes no difference as far as one’s relationship to Christ is concerned and his or her ability to know the Truth and live by faith. We have the mystical Body of Christ, the Church’s sacramental, liturgical life, and the Lord’s promise to be with us always. We have "received the Heavenly Spirit," and are blessed with the examples, testimonies and presence of countless saints who have gone on before us. We are literally living, right now if you will, in Apostolic times. So it seems as though we are missing the mark if we begin to demand, from God or from ourselves, objective, factual knowledge in terms of "proof," before we can come to faith. At some point a "leap of faith," will be required, for as mentioned above, so-called concrete evidence can always be discarded if that is what is desired. On the other side of that "leap," though, is the knowledge that we all seek Once there, there is no lack of proof. But without this faith no amount of knowledge or evidence will suffice. There will always be room for doubt, and opportunities for man in his "wisdom" to deny what is so plain and simple to all who have truly found the narrow path that leads to life. "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
From The Dawn
Publication of the Diocese of the South
Orthodox Church in America
With love in Christ, Fr John