Saturday, June 25, 2016

Not Seeing is believing

Sometimes we accept old sayings without actually thinking about them. Take for example "seeing is believing." It seems clear what it means, I'll believe it when I see it. But if you are a person of faith, it makes no sense to say it. For a person of faith, seeing is the opposite of believing. As the Letter of the Hebrews reminds us

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen 

Jesus goes even further when addressing St. Thomas,

Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed

Contrast St. Thomas with the unnamed centurion in today's gospel. Not only does the centurion believe so strongly that he does not need to see Jesus heal his servant, he does not need for Jesus to physically be present with the servant to heal. 

Lord, I am not worthy that you would enter under my roof, but only say the word and my servant will be healed.

This is absolute faith in the Word of God incarnate, Jesus the Christ. 

And every time we participate in the Eucharist we are called to make the words of the centurion our own. We are both the servant in need of healing, and the centurion expressing absolute faith. 

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof but only say the word and my soul shall be healed

At the consecration do we see the host and wine become the body and blood of Christ. No, and it is a good thing we don't. If we could see it, we would be Thomas who came to believe only because he saw. 

The person of faith is the centurion. 

There are many moments in life when we cannot see or feel the presence of God in our lives, times when the only thing our senses and feelings register is a great big nothing, a divine absence. Our natural response is to think of this as a bad thing. In reality, these times are good for us. For it is in those moments that we are most truly people of faith.