Explaining St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, St. Thomas Aquinas says that in heaven there will be no faith. We will not need faith when we experience the beatific vision. We need faith now because we live in a world of uncertainties.
We live with doubts. Sometimes these doubts are justified. We doubt our political and church leadership when those in power are not honest, when they use words to hide the truth instead of expressing it. We doubt our abilities when we recognize the same tendency in our own hearts or when, despite our sincerity, our strength is insufficient and we fail. When the world changes unexpectedly, we doubt the future.
Why does Thomas doubt? From one point of view, uncertainty seems justifiable. Believing that a man has come back from the dead is not easy. But it would not have been the first time that Thomas witnessed such an event. He was present at the resurrection of Lazarus. And it seems unlikely that the other disciples had fabricated this story only to deceive him–it is hardly clear what motive they would have had to make up such a lie.
It is true that Thomas speaks of evidence, of what he can see and what he can touch, but his doubt is not really based on a lack of empirical evidence. He does not express the need for more study before coming to a conclusion. He expresses the refusal to believe, the decision not to believe: “I will not believe.”Continue reading “Doubt and bearing witness: a homily for the second Sunday of Easter”