Adapted from Fr Tonne's Talks for Children
"Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed." St. John, 20 :29.
I want to tell you a story about a priest who liked to play tricks. One day he told the boys and girls in school that next week he was going to show them something wonderful. He would show them something that nobody in the world had ever seen before. After they all had a look at it, nobody in the world would ever see it again. He told the class that they would be the first who ever saw it; and they would be the last to see it, too, because it would disappear right in front of them.
He asked the children if they thought he could do this. Some thought he could; others said he couldn't.
You can be sure that during the following week those boys and girls thought and thought about what it might be. They tried to make Father give them a hint, but all he would say was: "Nobody ever saw it and nobody will ever see it again. You will be the only ones in the whole world who will ever see it."
Finally the day came and you can bet those boys and girls were all eyes and ears. Father had something in his hand. They leaned forward to see what it was. Slowly he opened his hand. There was - a peanut. Then he slowly broke the shell and took out the kernel, the inside of the peanut.
"Did any of you ever see that before?" he asked. "No, Father," they shouted.
"Did anybody else ever see it?"
"No, Father," they shouted again.
"Now, Jim," Father said to one of the boys, "please come up here. . .Open your mouth and eat this peanut."
"Will any of you ever see that peanut again?" Father asked.
"No, Father," they fairly screamed.
The Father explained that those who thought he could show them something they had never seen before, something nobody would ever see after they had seen it - those who believed had faith in him. Those who did not believe he could do it, did not have faith.
This past Sunday we read a story from the Bible about divine faith, faith in God. You remember. Jesus rose from the grave and appeared to our Blessed Mother and all the apostles except St. Thomas. When the others told St. Thomas, "We have seen the Lord," he would not believe it. Eight days later, when St. Thomas was with the apostles, Jesus appeared to them again. Our Lord told St. Thomas to put his finger into the wounds in His hands and his hand into the wound in His side. St. Thomas believed.
What did Jesus say then? He told St. Thomas and all of us: "Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed."
Blessed means happy.
Jesus had made a promise to His followers much bigger than the promise which the priest made to the class. The priest promised to show the children something nobody had ever seen, something nobody would ever see again. Jesus promised that after He was crucified and buried He would rise on the third day. St. Thomas did not believe the way he should. He doubted. He wanted to be shown. He wanted to see before he would believe. He did not have real faith.
Jesus told us many things which we have to believe, even though we cannot see them. He told us that there is a heaven where all of us will go and be happy with God forever, if we try to do what God wants. He also told us that there is another place where those will go who do not serve and love the Lord.
Jesus told us that He would give us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink. He told us that Holy Communion was really Himself. We don't see Jesus in the Sacred Host, but we know it is our Lord because He said so.
Our Lord told us that He would hear and answer our prayers. We don't see Him listening, but by faith we know that He is listening.
Faith tells us all the things we need to know. Faith answers all the big questions of life. We all want to know: Why this? Why that? Many questions cannot be answered from what we see and hear and feel. We go to our Lord and He gives us the answer. We take Him at His word. We believe every word Jesus says because He always tells the truth. This gift of faith we receive in Baptism.
The Apostle Thomas should have believed. He should have believed that Jesus would rise, as He said He would, and that He did appear to the apostles.
God gives us faith when we ask for it. Faith is a gift. When you ask your father for something, say, a bicycle, something you could never buy yourself, and he gives it to you, then you are happy.
Faith is something that God the Father will give you if you ask for it.
You can't buy it or build it or find it yourself. God gives it to us.
Ask God for faith, boys and girls, a strong, unshaking, solid faith. Ask God to help you believe every word He tells us through the Bible and through His Church. Then you will be blessed, then you will be happy, happy in your wonderful Catholic faith. Amen.
Adapted from Talks for Children
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1948)