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Believing What We Cannot See
April 23rd Readings Reflection: Saturday in the Octave of Easter
Today’s Gospel tells us of the disciples who did not at first believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. When Mary Magdalene saw Him at the tomb on Easter Sunday morning, she told His Apostles, but they did not believe her. When Jesus appeared to the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus, they returned and told the other disciples, who would not believe their story either.
Tomorrow, we will hear the familiar account of Doubting Thomas. He was not with the other Apostles when Jesus appeared to them after His Resurrection, and he claimed that unless he touched Jesus’ wounds with his own hands, he would not believe that Christ had risen. In today’s Gospel, we learn that the other Apostles were just as incredulous as Thomas. They would not believe the testimony of the other disciples who had seen the Risen Jesus; they needed to see Him themselves in order to believe.
In thinking of that which we must believe without seeing, the Holy Eucharist immediately comes to mind. What we can see is bread and wine; all of our senses tell us that this is just ordinary bread and wine. However, we know through faith that after the priest says the words of the Consecration, they are no longer ordinary bread and wine, but the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ Himself, taking on the appearance of bread and wine. This is a mystery, but we know that we must believe it to be true, as it is a fundamental part of our Catholic Faith.
In tomorrow’s Gospel, Jesus tells St. Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” It is easy to believe what we see, but it takes faith to believe what we have not seen. For this reason, Jesus says that they who believe without seeing are blessed.
What an outpouring of graces and blessings come from this faith, from believing what we do not see! This Easter season, let us strive to not be like the Apostles, who refused to believe what they could not see; let us instead pray with the father of the possessed boy in the Gospel of Mark: “I do believe, Lord: help my unbelief.”