Today, like all the times, people would like to be in peace with their God. They know that He is the one who has the right answer to their fundamental questions about their existence, the objective of their life and of course the primary purpose of their being created.
This was well expressed by St. Augustine when he said that our hearts are restless until the rest in God. And this remains the best proof for the deep religiosity of man.
When it comes to our contemporary man, it becomes interesting to observe that the above feeling is not necessarily translated into our regular and communal worship on Sundays.
Today many Christians, the world over are uncommitted to attending Sunday Church services. We cannot hasten to judge them because they do have their own reasons.
Some may be having doubts whether they can get answers to their existential questions within the four walls of the church. Others feel they can do much better when left alone with their God.
Others still think that they can put that time to a better use such as on social action, on work for progress, and on other intellectual pursuits rather than simple church worship. Others think that it belongs to simple minded people.
We all seem to have our doubts and reservations when it comes to strict observance of the ‘Day of God’.
It is interesting to note from the liturgy of the second Sunday of Easter, that such feeling of doubt started with the very first Christian Sunday after the resurrection of Christ.
When all the disciples were in prayers on that Sunday evening, the Lord appeared to them. Thomas was absent! During this encounter with Jesus, all their doubts and fear were turned into faith and courage.
Thomas missed this chance and he remained with his doubts. In fact when he came back from wherever he had gone, they told him that Christ had visited them and he doubted whether it was true.
“Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my hand in his side, I will not believe.” He retorted. Thomas made sure he attended prayers on the following Sunday, and when Jesus appeared to them he searched for his scars.
“My Lord and my God.” He said as he recognised the risen Christ. Thomas then believed. But Jesus said to him “Do you believe because you see me? How happy are those who believe without seeing me!” (Jn 20, 19-31).
Although some people continued to refer to him as the ‘doubting Thomas’ the words that Jesus used show us that Thomas eventually came to believe. In this he teaches us two interesting lessons.
When Jesus comes into his church to meet his people and to strengthen them in their faith, some Christians are always absent. They miss him. They too remain with their doubts. But that is not the end.
Thomas teaches us that we can all move beyond our doubts to faith. It is true that even in our daily life, doubt can lead to solutions and to a better understanding of some of our problems.
It doesn’t matter what the cause of our doubt or discouragement is. We must put our faith ahead of our reason, so that in what we do or do not understand we continue to believe in God and in his word.
It is true that our living faith should embrace physical actions, because there is no true faith which is not accompanied by actions. But on the other hand, we are a community of believers.
We are called to use our living faith and help our brothers and sisters; the body of Christ, to grow together in faith. And there is no better way of doing this than in communal prayer.
We should therefore have courage to assemble in communal prayers, especially on the days of the Lord. Nothing should deter us from this practice including our doubts and fears. You might feel shy about it!
Well, Thomas too was ashamed of his disbelief at first, but finally a sound and sincere believer, though slow and weak, shall always be graciously accepted by Jesus.