Sunday, April 3, 2016

Faith--A Calculated Risk

Caravaggio's Doubting Thomas
We continue to celebrate the Easter miracle the next six Sundays: Jesus Christ lives and because He lives, we live.

Have you ever witnessed an Easter miracle?  A depressed person resurrected to hope; an alcoholic resurrected to sobriety; a failing marriage resurrected to renewed love; an angry man resurrected to forgiveness; an estrangement between parent and child bridged; a wrong forgiven.   

We can create little Easter miracles for others when we seize the opportunity every day!

In the Gospel, the Risen Jesus bestows upon the disciples the energizing Spirit, the abiding peace and the overwhelming mercy of God.  The skeptical Thomas wasn’t there at first.  Lo and behold, a week later Jesus appears again.   And then Thomas makes his awesome declaration of faith in the simple words: “My Lord and My God.”

Doubting Thomas is easily identifiable with many people.  Because to be human is to question, to doubt.  

The one thing we all need is a loving, ongoing relationship.  No human relationship will satisfy us completely.  Because we were created to live in a relationship with God.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”  He brings us into that relationship with God.

It does matter what we believe. Good and bad, heroic generosity and cowardly selfishness, light and darkness, they all live within us.  

We all cry out for healing and mercy which we celebrate today—divine mercy.  We cry out for forgiveness, and only in Jesus Christ can we find it. Jesus Christ, through the mystery of his dying and rising, has freed us from death and nothingness.  Christianity challenges us to live life authentically, to the full.  It is the truth. It transforms our lives.   

There are all kinds of indicators pointing to God:  the order in the universe presupposes an orderer, e.g., a watch presupposes a watchmaker; hope presupposes a future; moral outrage presupposes a Judge; etc.  

Of course, there are also indicators that there's no God., e.g., evil.  

Faith in God is a calculated risk.  Blaise Pascal’s wager captures that.  Pascal was a 17th century French mathematician, inventor and philosopher. Pascal's Wager goes like this:

One does not know whether God exists;
not believing in God is bad for one's eternal soul if God indeed does exist;
believing in God is of no consequence if God does not exist;
therefore it is in one's interest to believe in God.  

“Doubting Thomas” in the Gospel concludes: “My Lord and My God.”  Why?  Because Jesus lives, and because He lives, you and I live.

Life in relationship with God forever.  That is the ultimate purpose of life.  Someday this earthly existence of ours, like that of Jesus crucified and risen, will be transformed into a heavenly existence.  

At a funeral mass we hear: “For those who believe, life is not taken away, life is merely changed.” Let us pray that the gift of faith will empower us, like Thomas, to proclaim every day "My Lord and My God.".   

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