“Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.” – Jn 20:8

Wouldn’t faith be so much easier if we could see God or could have been there during Jesus’ ministry? Being a catechist, my students struggle most with the concept of faith in general. How do you believe in something you don’t see? What proof do we have in a growing scientific world that some of the mysteries we trust in are true? One of the joys of teaching is that my students remind me of my own journey in faith, and their perspectives on things both challenge and refresh my own views.

Many times, I am like the disciples, whether this disciple who saw and believed, or even someone like St. Thomas, or Didymus, who needed to see the nail marks of Jesus and wound on His side to accept Jesus’ resurrection. When things do not go the way I expect, when I struggle, or when I even see horrible headlines in the news, I can’t help but wonder where God exists in all of this. But when I do this, I realize I am relying too much on my own senses and holding too much onto the phrase “seeing is believing.”

The true gift is to be, as Jesus says, one of “those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (Jn 20:29). And there is a power to believing without having yet seen. When things are the bleakest, it takes faith and holding onto your beliefs to get through difficult times through the strength sometimes only God can provide. On the flip side, when things are great, it takes faith to see them for the blessings they are rather than to chalk it up to good fortune.

My students remind me of this. They are growing up in an age moving faster than even when I was growing up, and they are surrounded by so many influences from technology, social media, and even the friends around them. Yet, to see them come to class every week, willing to ask questions, question their status quo, and learn more about their faith, inspires me to continue to keep rooted in this idea of believing before seeing. I want to continue to frame my thoughts and actions with Jesus at the forefront, because with that belief, there will always be something greater to come.

Dear Jesus, help me to face challenges and difficulties with faith first. During this Christmas season, allow me to stand firm with the newly born Jesus to bring the joy of Him to those around me with my words, beliefs, and actions.

Kevin Nguyen