Permission to Doubt

May 24, 2020 – Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
(Matthew 28:16)

In past homilies, I have stated that not understanding certain aspects of our faith, or even doubting or questioning them, is acceptable. With today’s gospel, I think that sentiment bears repeating.

Doubt is OK. It is a very human response. The key is in how we address our doubt. The easy path is to simply reject what we don’t understand. That is the path chosen by so many who have left the Church.

We should not stop seeking to understand, but it should not consume us. It is always worthwhile to spend time studying, digging into, and asking questions about our God and our faith. Such efforts keep us engaged and active; but we should be careful. We should not get so caught up in trying to understand certain aspects of our faith, that we do not take time to appreciate them.

In today’s gospel, the risen Christ appeared to the eleven apostles in Galilee. The Gospel read: “When the disciples saw him, they worshipped, but they doubted.” The men chosen by Jesus to build the Church doubted. However, it is important to note that while experiencing doubt, they continued to worship.

Permission to doubt has been granted to us. However, the call to worship remains. We worship not in spite of our doubt, but in harmony with it. In doing so, we embrace the mystery.

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