Catholics are creedal Christians. This means we have a set list of beliefs and we state that publicaly at every Sunday mass as well as other Solemnity masses. “I believe in on God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.”
It seems the world has a hard time, as well as we all do of believing unless we see. As we suffer under the pandemic it seems we focus most of our attention on what we can do physically. The question becomes that medical and pharmaceutical means are at our disposal to attack and overcome Covid-19? The resolve is to take every avenue open to us to stamp out this enemy, using every physical means available to destroy something that is invisible. For what we see are the effects and symptoms of the body’s attempt at eliminating the virus not the virus itself. The Covid-19 virus is a hidden adversary.
While all the medical, physical and behavioral approaches are necessary, we hear very little about attacking an invisible enemy with an “invisible approach”. That of course is through the power of God and His supernatural intervention. Humanity has lost sight of the true identity of mankind. Men and women are not merely composed of matter but also the immaterial spirit or soul. If we approach life from a purely physical component, we are only dealing with half of the reality. We are unable to “see” the invisible.
In the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, we see St. Thomas, one of the Apostles struggling to believe because he had not yet physically seen Jesus after His bodily resurrection. He demands to see the marks in Jesus’ hands, feet and side before he is willing to believe. He must see the visible signs; just believing is not enough.
St. Paul cautions us to “live by faith not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). It is not what we see that strengthens us but what is unseen, invisible. During catastrophic times as these the question arises, “how could God allow such tragedy to happen?” We see a world rife with natural disasters and we ask ourselves why. This is question is known in the Church’s understanding as the mystery of evil.
We know that when sin entered the world there was a disruption to the natural order, and explains partially why things go awry. The answer is never a sufficient one or completely satisfactory. Yet disillusionment results if we put all our hopes on looking for a perfect paradise on earth. Our Lord never told us the goal was to bring heaven to earth but those on earth to heaven. The goal is reach what is invisible, the true beatitude of heaven.
Through the difficulties we all endure, as we face this biological foe, we must never underestimate the power of the Invisible God for He shows Himself in many ways. Through nature, situations that arise, and even disasters He reveals Himself. His form is invisible to our eyes yet His influence and presence is everywhere.
For one thing, He created men and women with the intellect to address difficulties. He has given individuals talents and intellect to take on the challenges of life. He has made us in His image and likeness that makes us superior to all other creatures on earth. Yet if we leave Him out of the picture, we are denying that invisible part of the human equation, that spiritual nature given to us by God Himself.
St. Thomas was stuck in the physical, natural world. He did not yet understand or underestimated the power of God, the invisible or unseen reality that exists beyond the mere material world. We, as Christians must never forget this and must not rely solely on physical approaches whether it’s combating the corona virus or our own sinfulness.
Finally, this being Divine Mercy Sunday, we call upon the grace and mercy of God and His Son Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. We call out to our Blessed Mother and all the Saints. The Church, with her Sacraments, support and strengthen our faith and resolve, not only regarding a physical illness, but more importantly to assist us in turning away from the sins that so easily ensnare us.
Let us turn back to God, because our natural tendency in difficult times is to turn to oneself for answers and remedies. During this difficult time let us first approach the throne of grace on which Our Savior, Jesus Christ sits. Who paid the price for our sins by His great suffering and death on the cross. Let us not walk by sight but by faith.