A WORD FROM THE PASTOR
Faith Comes in Different Ways To Different People
To understand today’s Gospel text let us create a scenario. “You are called up to a lectern and blindfolded and a bucket full of water is placed in front of you; then, you are asked if the bucket is empty or full.” Then, a question is asked: “What are the ways you can learn the answer to such inquiry without removing the blindfold?”
There are three ways we can learn to answer such question: One way is to reach into the bucket and feel if there is water in it. In other words, you can experience firsthand if the bucket is full or empty. This way of learning is called experiencing; it is knowledge that our senses give us.
The second way of learning if the bucket has water or has none is to drop an object like a coin into it. If the object hits the bottom of the bucket with a loud or ringing sound, you know the bucket is empty. On the other hand, if the object hits with a splash, you know the bucket contains water. This way of acquiring knowledge is called reasoning.
A third way to learn if the bucket contains water is to ask someone you trust. The person could look into the bucket and tell you if it has water in it. This way of learning is called believing. It’s knowledge that we acquire by Faith. But of the three ways of acquiring knowledge, that is, by experiencing, reasoning, and believing, by which way do we obtain most of our knowledge? If we said believing, then you are correct. According to some experts, we acquire as much as 80 percent of our knowledge in this way. Today’s Gospel describes how St. Thomas the apostle chose the way of experiencing the Risen Lord by touching him.
Modern Christians, who are no longer able to "see" Jesus with their eyes, must believe what they hear. That is why Paul reminds us, "Faith comes from hearing" (Rom 10:17). The Gospel shows us that Faith comes in different ways to different people. The beloved disciple (John) believes upon seeing the empty tomb. Mary Magdala believes when the Lord calls her name. Thomas says that he must touch the wound, although that need evaporates once he sees the risen Christ. People find various routes to faith.
Christian Faith is not just a mindless assent to certain beliefs without thinking—it has a solid basis in rationality, and this effort to explain and understand such claims is the basis of theological exploration, and of Christian philosophy.
What is your route to faith?