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Easter faith without works is dead


By Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD

Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

“To see is to believe,” goes a worn-out saying. This “show-me-first” attitude implies a practical hard-headedness, a lack of trust in another.

The apostle Thomas of this Second Easter Sunday manifested a lack of trust. And because of his doubt, the term “doubting Thomas” was coined to describe all doubters and skeptics.

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The skeptical apostle said, “Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in his side, I will not believe” (Jn 20,24).

Thomas got his wish after the ensuing week when the Risen Lord appeared. Mildly censuring him, Jesus said, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Touch and feel my side. Cease to doubt, but believe!” (Jn 20,27).

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Confronted with the real person, there was no more need for Thomas to touch and feel Christ’s wounds. Instead he fell on his knees and cried: “You are my Lord and my God.” These words of Thomas we declare in faith during the consecration of the Body and Blood in the Mass.

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But Jesus refers to his friends who were not present: “Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed” (Jn 20,29).

Faith is defined as a complete trust and confidence in some person or thing. For instance, we allow a totally unknown person to fly us for thousands of miles over mountains without ever knowing the pilot nor his background.

Or a man surrenders his heart, literally, as in heart bypass to a person without ever asking for his license or examine his medical training.

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Reminds of that lady patient who was being wheeled into the pre-operating room. She was visibly nervous. “Doc, please be gentle with me,” she told the young doctor escorting her. “This is my first operation.”

To which the doctor replied, “That’s allright, madam. This is also my first time to do an operation!” (Dunno if the patient survived).

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If there is such a thing as human faith, there is also a divine faith. Take note, however, that divine faith does not mean merely professing belief in the Risen Christ and his teachings. Christian faith must bear fruit in works of love. Paul says that “the only thing that counts is faith active in love” (Galatians 5,6); St. James bolsters this, saying, “Faith without works is dead.”

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Thomas who professed his faith in the Risen Christ exemplified this faith-in-action. After the post-resurrection encounter with the Lord and after Jesus’ ascension to heaven, he journeyed to faraway India, proclaiming the teachings of Christ, eventually offering his life as a martyr.

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We do not have to do what Thomas or what outstanding Catholics like Mother Teresa of Calcutta did in order to exemplify faith in action.

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Active faith could mean treating household helpers and workers in a just and humane way, finding time to visit sick relatives or condoling with bereaved families or fighting for the rights of the oppressed like exploited indigenous people, the weak and voiceless in society which include victims of extra judicial killings (EJK).

Whatever act of love we extend manifests an Easter faith that is truly genuine and alive.

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Family TV mass — is aired on IBC 13 (cable 15) at 7 a.m. every Sunday and on international GMA Pinoy TV. Sponsor: Archdiocesan Shrine of Divine Mercy, Mandaluyong City. Presider: Fr. Hans Magdurulang.

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