Having doubts… is it a good thing or a bad thing? At the end of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus appears to the disciples on the holy mountain. This is right before he leaves them. St. Matthew writes that “The disciples worshipped, but they doubted.” Then, right after that line, Jesus commissions them to go out to all the nations, teaching them about what he taught them, and baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
What about the doubt? Well, if you think about it a bit, the opposite of doubt is certainty. You know, when you’re sure about something. When you’re sure about something, you don’t really need faith, do you? After all, you know it for sure.
What does St. Paul write? In Hebrews 11:1 he says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” If you can see it and prove it, who needs faith?
How does this doubt help us to be disciples? After all, it is uncomfortable to have doubts. There are some kinds of Christian Denominations who are certain of many things. We Catholics tend not to be so certain about things. Why?
Ever since the beginning of the church, Jesus’ disciples had to go to strange lands and talk about the Gospel. You might remember that at the council of Jerusalem the Apostles decided to open the church to everyone.
This meant they had to learn strange languages. They had to eat odd foods and learn all about the different cultures of the world. If they had no doubts, if they had certainty about everything, they wouldn’t have been able to be disciples. They had to have open hearts and open minds so they could fall in love with the cultures and the peoples of the world.
After all, if you don’t love a culture, you can’t bring the Gospel to it, and you can’t invite the people in the culture into friendship with Jesus and his church! Because of this openness to cultures, today, you know, there are 23 different Rites of Worship in the Catholic Church. You know, we’re Roman Rite Catholics here at St. Paul. There are Alexandrian, Armenian, Chaldean, Byzantine, and so on. Imagine the variety! There are Mozarabic Catholics that only celebrate their Mass in Toledo, Spain! Wow! What fun!