April 1996

The Word of Life, taken from Scripture, is offered each month as a guide and inspiration for daily living.

"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe" (Jn 20:29)

These words can be found near the end of St. John's Gospel. As you may recall, Jesus addressed them to Thomas, the apostle who was not present the first time the risen Lord appeared to his disciples. They had told Thomas: "We have seen the Lord," but because he found it difficult to believe, he made this remark: "Until I see the mark of the nails in his hands...Iwill not believe" (Jn 20:25).

Thomas is the type of all those like him who receive the announcement of the resurrection not directly from Jesus but through the testimony of the apostles. Thomas usually represents all the generations that come after Jesus' time, who find themselves in the situation of having to believe without being able to see.

Well then, it is to you and to all of us who have faith in the Gospel that Jesus addresses this beaitude:

"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe"

Later on, Thomas was fortunate enough to see Jesus. He was called to be his apostle and eyewitness. And the sight of the risen Jesus was so strong for him that his faith was increased to such an extent that he no longer felt the need to prove it. From his soul surged forth those splendid words that reveal how profoundly he had understood who Jesus was: "My Lord and my God!" (Jn 20:28).

"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe"

What does Jesus want to teach you now with these words of his?

He wants to instill in you, and in all those who have not lived near him, the conviction that you possess the same reality as the aopstles. Jesus wants to tell you that you are not less fortunate than those who saw him. In fact, you have faith, and this is so to speak, the new way of "seeing" Jesus. Through faith, you can be close to him, understand him profoundly, meet him in the depths of your heart. Through faith you can experience his presence among two or three united in his name (Mt 18:20), or discover him in his Church where he is always present.

This faith rests on the testimony, passed down through the centuries, of those who were able to see Jesus with their own eyes. But even though many centuries have passed, you are not far from him.

Besides, before returning to the Father and while praying for his disciples whom he was leaving in the world, Jesus also remembered you. "I do not pray," he said, "for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word" (John 17:20).

"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe"

These words of Jesus are a call for you to revive your faith and not to wait for proofs or signs in order to progress in your spiritual life. Also they exhort you not to doubt the presence of Christ in history and in your own life.

With these words, Jesus wants you to abandon yourself - with living faith and with full trust - into the arms of God. He wants you to believe in his love even when you find yourself in difficult situations or when impossible circumstances seem to overwhelm you.

"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe"

Finally, these words of Jesus are an invitation to free yourself from the confines of mere human logic, to not let yourself be blocked by rationalizing everything. Jesus' words are an invitation to accept what goes beyond your reach, that is, the great truths of the faith like the mysteries of God, of Christ, and of the resurrection.

Chiara Lubich