If there was one point to make about the Gospel this Sunday then it should be this: The disciples’ unbelief knows no bounds.
- They are told by the women and don’t believe that someone could be raised from the dead.
- They didn’t believe the two disciples who running back from Emmaus after their encounter with the risen Christ came to tell them the good news.
- When Jesus enters the room they believe he is a ghost.
- Even after Jesus shows him his wounds they still don’t believe it possible that Jesus could have come back from the tomb.
It takes Jesus eating for them to believe that he was alive. It is not only Thomas who doubts but all eleven disciples are struggling to come to terms with this weird and wonderful news.
David Lose, president of the Lutheran seminary in Philadelphia, and one of my favourite bloggers, writes on this Sunday’s reading “If you don’t have serious doubts about the Easter story, you’re not paying attention.” That a human being is able to be raised from the dead is so improbable that it demands of us to completely rethink how we believe the world functions. What looked like total failure suddenly became a victory that changed the world.
And so doubt is inextricably part of our faith. It is part of the process that enables us to expand our understanding of how God works in our world. And how God works in and through everyone of us! The disciples’ understanding of the world was changed by meeting the risen Christ. Our understanding should change too, if we are paying attention.
This also affects how we see ourselves within our Christian community. What wonderful works is God able to do with us? We might have to re-imagine how God can use us as God’s Church in our parish.