Second Sunday of
First Reading : ( Acts 4:32-35
): The believers held everything in common.
Second Reading : ( 1 Jn 5:1-6 ) : Our faith in God brings victory over
Gospel : ( Jn 20:19-31 ) : Jesus appeared to the Apostles and Thomas
“If Heaven had wished to let this cause of truth perish, then I, a future
mortal, should not have had such an involvement with that cause. While
Heaven does not let the cause of truth perish, what can the people of
Kuang do to me?”(1)
study the books of the sages?”(2)
“Have you believed because you have seen
me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe!”
What is referred to here as 'believing without seeing' does not mean
to follow blindly, nor does it refer to superstitious belief. It really
refers to a faith which far exceeds proof, visions or the senses. 'Seeing'
does not necessarily result in faith. During the time of Jesus, those
who 'saw' Jesus were quite numerous, but not everyone believed in him.
Many people even opposed him. That was why Jesus, with deep emotion,
said, “The one who ate my bread has lifted
his heel against me.”(Jn 13:18)
Even those who had seen Jesus perform miracles did not necessarily
have deep and lasting faith in him. Look at the crowd who welcomed Jesus
enter Jerusalem and the crowd who called out “let him die on the cross,”
were not many of them the same people? On the one hand, they had just
welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem, on the other hand they loudly shouted
for his crucifixion. There is a well-known Western song called Fickle
Lady. Actually, most human beings are fickle, perhaps including you
Jesus rose from the dead. Those who had not believed in him remained
the same. They did not change their mind even after Jesus had risen.
On the contrary, they bribed the soldiers and told them to spread rumours,
saying that it was Jesus' disciples who stole his body (see Mt 28:13).
Who would have imagined that those whose hearts were already hardened
would harden their hearts even more when they had concrete 'proof'!
Therefore belief does not necessarily require proof. Our everyday lives
are filled with beliefs that go beyond the evidence of our senses.
For instance, in the marriage covenant, people promise that 'in good
times or bad, in sickness or health', they would care for each other
until death. Don't they also have a certain amount of heroism and chivalry,
willingly agreeing to 'enter the dragon's lake and the tiger's den'
i.e., take the risk of great danger? As for parents who invest large
amounts of resources, time, energy and love, in their children's future,
what assurance do they have that their children will repay them? Why
are those who have intimate friends not afraid that one day one might
be betrayed? All these situations go beyond proof; they are examples
of 'believing without seeing.' There is no need for proof in order to
If we really require proof about Jesus or God, there is such proof
in the church itself and in our own hearts. The majority of the early
Christians found their faith in the Christian community, “The
whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no
one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they
owned was held in common... there was not a needy person among them.”
(Acts 4:32-34) They also frequently gathered together with great joy
'for the breaking of bread,' and for praying and eating together. They
were a happy, lively, enthusiastic group of people, united by their
faith. They were a resurrected community, and though they 'did not see
him,' they experienced Christ's real presence, the presence of the risen
Christ in their midst.
Another kind of proof lies in our hearts. Actually, those who have
faith already have a certain tendency to believe. They appreciate life,
they marvel at nature, they affirm their own identity as the noblest
of all creatures. They have a sense of the non-material, the world of
the spirit. What faith requires is that we should affirm and nurture
our faith and make every effort to cultivate it further.
If we spend a little more time looking at the sky closely with admiration,
or when with deep emotion we find ourselves in the depths of nature,
do we not feel the presence of God? When we serve others with love,
do we not think of Christ? When, urged on by our ideals and faith, we
are committed to a meaningful task, do we not feel that God is with
us and we are working for Him? Before the Blessed Sacrament, or after
receiving Holy Communion, or when reading Scripture, if we are willing
to spend a little more time to activate our faith to a greater awareness
of God’s presence, would we not become more and more alerted to God's
presence in us?
Once, the people of Kuang misunderstood Confucius and made things very
difficult for him. Confucius calmly said, “If Heaven had wished to let
this cause of truth perish, then I, a future mortal, should not have
had such an involvement with that cause. While Heaven does not let the
cause of truth perish, what can the people of Kuang do to me?”(1)
What he meant was if heaven wants to destroy the Chinese culture,
I, a 'future mortal' would not be able to touch, understand or accept
that culture. But since I have understood, accepted, and been touched
by this culture, it is clear 'proof' that heaven does not want to destroy
it. This being the case, what can the people of Kuang do to me?
Confucius did not need any proof before working hard for his country
and his people. His moral character and intellectual capacity were proof
enough from heaven. “Why should we study the books of the sages?”(2)
What he had learned came from teachers who had taught
him and from following the way of heaven above. He felt he should continue
to spread the cultural heritage that heaven had handed down to him.
Our heart has strength beyond our imagination! Let us deliberately