St.Thomas the Apostle


Ephesians 2:19-22
John 20:24-29


Of late, I have become very interested in astrology, inspired by the wonderful images now provided to us by the Hubble space telescope and the James Webb space telescope. Both orbiting at different points from the Earth, and both viewing the universe along different wavelengths of the light spectrum.

The images are stunning and while they are expanding our knowledge they are also adding to our questions, and informing our theories.  Inevitably the field of astronomy opens itself up to the question of origins – e.g. Was there a time before the ‘big bang’ ? Or indeed were there earlier universes prior to the one we can see (given our range of knowledge lets us go back only 13.8 billion years).  Often the questions lead us back to The Question about our origin in God.

For some the size and dimensions of the universe and its laws of behaviour, do not overly discourage one from faith – regardless of discoveries, God can remain at the core of existence no matter who we shape it; and we remain at the focus of God’s love. For others the endless possibilities being discovered only lead to new theories and God does not feature among them (unless God’s existence can be proved!).

Scientific methods, which have underpinned Western thought for some centuries, are always in operation in our Western world – observations lead to hypothesises, which lead to predictions, which require experimentation in order to be validated.

Thomas might well have felt at home in such a world! He may have even anticipated ‘scientific methodology’! He wants proof to underpin belief.

We can learn from him, rather than follow his example. We find ourselves called to faithfulness and discipleship in a time that cries out for proof before commitment. Often, we have no theory to support our beliefs, save for the fact that we are surrounded by soul friends who have had the same fundamental experiences and who find the same source of meaning, belonging and authenticity in life – Jesus.

Like Thomas – at the second appearance moment – when we are within and surrounded by the community of the faithful, we discover we do not need proofs to ‘see’ Jesus – we know at a deeper level. We become those who “have not seen and yet have believed.”

Fr. Denis Travers C.P. is the provincial of the Passionists of Holy Spirit Province.