Although in the debate on Monday night on the ABC1 TV program QandA between Richard Dawkins and Cardinal Pell, it seemed that doubt and questioning of faith was a very recent and modern phenomena, if you study the scriptures and Christian tradition carefully such doubts and questions are immediately apparent.
The passage from John’s Gospel that we have just read would originally have been the conclusion to the gospel; chapter 21 is an epilogue added probably by John himself sometime later. When we look at the gospel with the filter of doubt and faith, we see lots of the characters struggle to make sense of what John presents so clearly in the opening line: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In story after story, beginning with Nicodemus who comes to Jesus at night (in the darkness of unbelief), to the Woman at the well, to the man born blind, and finally to doubting Thomas, insiders and outsiders alike are shown to legitimately struggle with making sense of who Jesus is, how he can be who he claims to be, and how to respond to these claims. Each one in turn is led – sometimes gradually, always through a process of questioning faith – to a deeper understanding of who Jesus is and how best to respond to him. Like Thomas, we are invited to fall down in worship and take his same declaration upon our own lips: ‘my Lord and my God.’
Recorded at St Paul’s, 6pm (9’49”)
E2B; Easter, Second Sunday B