The nature of our faith is such that no matter how faithful we live the word of God, there will be times when our faith will be like that of Thomas the Apostle (cf. Jn. 20:19-31), shaken. It will seem to flicker and threaten to go out of us.

When we stand on a mountain top - meaning, when everything goes on well - our faith seems to be strong and bright, unshakeable. It is like a powerful beacon giving light to the entire world. And when we stand in a valley - meaning, when things go rough and tough in our lives, when there are ups and downs - our faith seems to be weak and dim. It is like a flame of a candle flickering in a storm. However, if that faith is tested and proved strong, then nothing will shake the life of that person. He or she will always be a person of God, no matter what. It is for this reason that during this time of Easter we are not only challenged, but also encouraged, firstly, to reflect on the Scripture readings which we read or listen to every Sunday and during the week. And secondly, on their application in our own daily lives just like the apostles and disciples who after being tested in their faith, they were eventually strengthened and lived that spirit of Easter in its totality expressed in their communal living. "For there was not any one needy among them, for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need" (Acts 4:34-35). The spirit of selfishness and greed was defeated. For them, the Resurrection was not a fact of history but rather a present reality. As a people of Easter, "In our life, after every crisis we begin again; after every rupture we rebuild. In this pilgrimage to our final death and resurrection the Christian must be characterised by faith in the Resurrection, being conscious that the present moment is a passage from death to life. The expression of this certainty is fraternal love" (God's Word 2018: Daily Reflections, April 08, 2018).

There is a story which may help us to reflect on this reality. One day there was a short but sharp argument between Pope's Guard and Mr. Death. The argument was basically on faith and its application in life. Mr. Pope's Guard started the conversation by asking Mr. Death, "Why does God hide Himself? Why doesn't He reveal himself especially in the moments when we, human beings, need him most, when we are challenged or in difficulty? Why doesn't He, at least, say something to us?" Mr. Death responded, "But you, Mr. Pope's Guard, you are supposed to know all this. You have been serving the Pope for more than thirty five years, to the extent of extending your retirement time, and yet you don't know how God relates to you? For me, you know my job. I only deal with death especially people like you. In fact, if God was silent, my job would be so easy. But because He defends you people so much that it makes my work hard and tough." Mr. Pope's Guard continued to talk with conviction: "God doesn't do a thing. He does not touch us, He doesn't speak to us. Sometimes I wonder if He is really alive. Maybe He is a dead God." Then, Mr. Death laughed loudly saying, "Oh, Mr. Pope's Guard, you could be a very good follower of mine. You know what? Mr. Thomas, the Apostle, escaped me narrowly, simply because God was so good to him. Otherwise, by now I would have already been his Oga. In fact, Mr. Judas Iscariot is already with me. He is one of my faithful companions hunting for people like you who are next to the Pope's territory and who have no faith in their God." Realising that he was in the hands of Mr. Death proper, and that Mr. Death was already warming up to catch him, Mr. Pope's Guard took off speedily lamenting, "Sorry, Lord. You are indeed my Lord and my God. Don't let me fall into the trap of Mr. Death again; have mercy on me!"

Faith is an important aspect in our life as Christians. No matter what; otherwise, death which can come in different forms can distort all our lives and dreams; hence, remain doomed for good. We realise that Thomas turned the apostles into confusion as he tried to tell them that, 'Don't try to tell me anything about Jesus as I know what happened. Jesus is gone for good and he will not come back. Don't create nonsensical statements here as if you are possessed, dreaming of Jesus that he is alive. Forget about it and about him; let us face our own life squarely.'

Nevertheless, the stubbornness and hardness of Thomas of not believing in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, should not lead us to making harsh judgment on Thomas. Why? Because his disbelief helps us to see and prove that Jesus was truly raised to life as he told him that: "Thomas, put your finger here ... Look at my hands. Put your hand into my side. Doubt no longer but believe" (Jn. 20:27). Though the apostles were not happy with Thomas' reaction, yet it is a great confirmation for us and many other people who could have found it hard to believe in the Resurrection of Jesus. In fact, the confirmation of Jesus Christ himself to Thomas made him change completely and became one of the great missionaries in different parts of the world, particularly in India. Moreover, the confirmation of Jesus to Thomas made also other disciples to stand firm later on even to the extent of founding an ideal small Christian Community (cf. Acts 4:32-37). The apostles were able to be together, share the little they had among the needy. Of course, we can say that the community that time was small and it was not as complicated  and  complex as our  contemporary  society. What is important is that they were  able  to  share the little they had in generosity. All this was done because they were moved  by their strong faith in the resurrected Christ, in the spirit of Easter.

In the 1970's a country called Tanzania tried to adapt the so called Ujamaa System (Communal  System) under the leadership of Late President Julius Kambarage Nyerere (whose canonisation is now in process). People who were scattered in different villages were brought together so that the government could make available all the necessary provisions and needs such as health facilities, schools, water, electricity, etc. Nyerere's idea was brilliant! But those who were to implement it, made it difficult; they simply went contrary to Nyerere's ideal and idea  because of their selfishness and greed. What was supposed to be for the people in those villages went into their private pockets!

If our faith is tested, we should be able to be ourselves and stand firm like Thomas the Apostle. Our weakness has to be acknowledged in simplicity, "My Lord and my God (Jn. 20:28). But we are to move forward challenging and encouraging others to have firm faith as Thomas himself, moved by the spirit of Easter went to Evangelise the people of India. We are to create that communal spirit which "Joseph who was surnamed by the apostles Barnabas (which means, Son of encouragement), a Levite (Acts 4:37)" imbibed. St. Thomas the Apostle, Pray for us; hence, doubt no more!

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