We’ve all heard the phrase, “Seeing is believing.” This is pretty much what the apostle Thomas was saying in response to the other apostles who had encountered the Risen Lord. Thomas wanted and needed something tangible to put his faith in.
In many ways, Thomas is symbolic of the age we live in. More and more, people are putting their faith and trust into that which is material and tangible. Pope Benedict XVI addresses this in his new book Jesus of Nazareth in which he criticizes the present age for excluding God and clinging to realities that are visible and tangible. His warning is that this self-centered quest for material well-being will lead to self-desctruction, making us deaf and blind to the real call and presence of God through Jesus.
Jesus told Thomas that it is blessed to believe without seeing. In essence, Jesus taught a new way to see – faith. He reversed the “Seeing is believing” approach to “Believing is seeing.”
As catechists, we are called to invite those we teach into a new way of seeing – faith. We strive to invite our learners to see beyond that which is material and tangible and to believe in a God who is the Creator of all that “is seen and unseen.”
At the same time, we are not left without tangibles. Jesus himself is the tangible presence of the intangible God. In the Eucharist, we have the tangible real presence of Jesus. In the sacraments, we have tangible realities that point to the intangible presence of God. Our quest is to help those we teach to recognize that fulfillment is found, not in material possessions, but in relationship with God who is love.
Love is an intangible reality that is manifested in many ways…most perfectly in the selfless love of Jesus.