If someone told you: “In this city, there is a dog which is 3 meters long and which weighs 300 kilograms.” Would you believe it? Or if someone said to you: “Last night, I saw a girl with wings flying outside my window.” Would you believe it? Or, if someone else said to you: “My new car can talk to me just like a friend.” Would you believe it?
If you find it hard to believe those things, you can understand the reaction of Thomas in the Gospel today: “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger into the nailmarks, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” His teacher, Jesus, was crucified, killed and buried. All this just happened a few days ago. His death is just a fact, a death like every other death, except more painful and more terrible. Then today, his friends are saying to him: “Hey, we have seen Jesus alive again!” What’s going on? He has never heard someone coming back to life after death. Put yourself in his shoes, will you believe it right away? We also need to remember another fact: Those friends who are telling this story did not believe their eyes when Jesus appeared to them the first time. They even thought that they saw a ghost. Anyway, coming to belief is not an easy thing, is it?
My friend, the words of Thomas: “If I do not see it with my own eyes and touch it with my own hands, I will not believe!” show a real need of human beings, including you and me, especially in the world of our age, an age that loves images. For example, a website would not be attractive without images. Without seeing by the eyes, it’s just hard to believe.
Even though Jesus later on concludes “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”, he does satisfy the desire to see and touch of the human. That is the reason why he appears to Thomas today to help him believe, and through him, to help many others believe, too.
The people of the time of Thomas desired to see and Jesus Christ satisfied their desire. The people of our time also desire to see. The question is: “Does Jesus continue to satisfy their desire or not?”
The answer is: Yes. Of course! Next question: But how? I think it is not complicated to answer.
In order to answer the question “How does Jesus show himself to the world today?”, first we have to answer the question “How did he show himself to me?” or “By what means did I come to believe in him?”
Someone read the Bible to me and I just believed right away? Generally, no! I myself talked about the Bible to many people, but they listened to it just like other stories. Unfortunately, they have not come to believe yet.
My friend, I don’t know about your case, but my belief and faith have been born of blood. Yes! It is the fact that blood was shed that I could have the firm Christian faith as I have today. But whose blood is it?
First of all, it is the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He voluntarily shed his blood to express the unconditional love of God for all.
Next, it is the blood of those who said that they have directly seen Jesus alive again after his death. They were willing to pay the price for what they saw, even at the price of their own life.
Then it is the blood of our anscestors, even if they did not directly see Jesus. Not a few but millions of them have shed their blood. They were willing to sacrifice their lives to proclaim that Jesus was truly living in them.
My friend, I have seen the Risen Christ in the blood of many witnesses and I have believed in Him. Now we can come back to the question: “How does the Risen Christ make himself seen to the people of today’s world?” The answer becomes obvious now: in the shedding of our blood. We are his witnesses! But how can we shed our blood for him? Perhaps most of us do not have to shed our real red blood in the literal sense because we live in an age where religious freedom is respected in most parts of the world. However, we can shed our blood for Jesus by our love for others around us each day. Well, you may ask: “Why does love have to do with blood?” Yes, because the true sign of love is sacrifice. Our sacrifice out of love for others, no matter how small it is, is true blood that we can shed for Jesus to make him seen and proclaimed.
Pope Paul VI reminds us: “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses”.
Let’s us pray to Jesus to help us know how to make him seen in our lives. My friend, I believe that one day when we see Jesus face to face, he will tell us: “My good friend, come in and enjoy happiness with me.”