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Friday, March 17, 2006

Questioning in Faith
But John's Gospel (and Thomas) tell a different story. There, we find that Jesus appeared to the disciples (minus Thomas) on Easter and breathed on them in a sort of "little Pentecost," giving them the Holy Spirit. This done, it was no longer a gaggle of disciples, but Holy Church, that told Thomas "We have seen the Lord!" And Thomas, though doubting the Resurrection, did not reject the Church. He stayed with them. In so doing, whether he realized it or not, he did not reject Jesus but stayed with Him too, for it was Jesus Himself Who said to Holy Church "He who listens to you listens to Me." Thomas was faithful to Jesus Himself in the way that mattered most, which is perhaps why, when Jesus did appear to Thomas (in the midst of Holy Church, of course), it was Thomas, the doubter, who was graced before all the other Apostles to see Jesus for Who He really is: "My Lord and my God."

The same principle applies today. The Christian who says, "I love the Lord! It's the Church I refuse to listen to" is a Christian who, according to our Lord Himself, is refusing to listen to the Lord.

Conversely, the questioning Catholic who fears he is faithless to Jesus, yet refuses to depart from the Church and does his best to obey her teaching is, whether he realizes it or not, pleasing to God. It's one of the striking paradoxes that springs from the fact that the Word is still made flesh. We find God, not in some disembodied realm, but where He still reveals Himself: through the Body of Christ and its tradition and sacraments.

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