We still say with conviction, ‘seeing is believing’. In other words, evidence is what we need to accept facts and truths. In today’s NT readings, however, we have two groups of people on either side of the Christian fence, who do not accept evidence. There are the Sanhedrin (see the verses from Acts), composed of Jewish priests and other Jewish faith-leaders who accept that Peter and John have indeed worked a miracle on a blind cripple. They affirm: ‘It is obvious to everybody in Jerusalem that a miracle has been worked through them in public, and we cannot deny it.’ But they are unwilling to accept the implication that this means believing in Jesus, the power and source of the miracle. ‘But to stop the whole thing spreading any further among the people, let us caution (Peter and John) never to speak to anyone in this name again.’
But in the extract from Mark’s gospel (its ending), we meet another group of non-believers in the rising of Jesus, and his risen power at work. These are ‘his companions’, i.e., his male disciples. ‘But they did not believe (Mary of Magdala) when they heard her say that he was alive and she had seen him.’ Neither did they believe the two disciples ‘to whom he showed himself … as they were on their way into the country’. They ‘did not believe them either’.
So, faced with their unbelief, Jesus ‘showed himself to the Eleven themselves while they were at table. He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.’ Fortunately, you and I, while waiting to see the risen Jesus in person, have believed all others who have seen him risen, alive, and at work.
Brian Gleeson CP, is a Passionists, he lives at St.Gabriel Retreat, Endeavour Hills.