Multitude of Witnesses
1 Corinthians 15:3-8,11…
On the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians:
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; that he appeared to Kephas, then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. After that he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me… Therefore, whether it be I or they, so we preach and so you believed. -1 Corinthians 15:3-8,11, NAB
Doubt is the enemy of faith. Some of the Corinthians must have doubted Christ’s resurrection, and St. Paul provided a multitude of witnesses, still alive at the time, that could tell them otherwise. They could talk with people who had actually seen the risen Jesus.
We are not so lucky. We do not have the luxury of speaking one-on-one with St. Paul, St. Peter (Kephas), the twelve (Apostles), or any of the other 500 witnesses. So how can we know, for sure, that what the Bible tells us is true? How do we know that Christ truly resurrected from the dead?
Wherever you find faith, doubt will surely follow. It is a natural reaction for the human mind. Even some of the greatest saints have struggled with doubt. For instance, it has been said that Blessed Mother Theresa spent part of her life facing spiritual darkness, but she overcame her doubt, and so can we.
The multitude of witnesses, including the Apostles, shared what they had seen, and the Church quickly grew. Now, those same stories have been passed down through the generations, some of which have been recorded in Scripture, such as today’s verse. We must lean on our knowledge of Scripture, then, to overcome any doubts.
For some, Scripture may not be enough. They doubt the truth found in Scripture as much as they doubt the risen Lord. That is where the Church, a multitude of witnesses of over 1 billion Catholics, can share our own personal experiences with Christ. We were not there when Christ appeared to the Apostles, but we can speak about the impact He has had on our own lives.
The world is filled with doubt, but doubt can be overcome by the multitude of witnesses that have spoken on Christ’s behalf. Christ appeared before over 500 people after His resurrection, and that multitude of witnesses has grown to over 1 billion Catholics (and 2 billion Christians total). To spread faith – and overcome all doubt – we need to continue to make our voices heard. We are the multitude of witnesses.