Friday, July 3, 2009

Doubting Thomas, or Grieving Thomas?

In the Catholic Church, today is the Feast of Thomas the Apostle. Thomas, of course, has come down to us in history as "Doubting Thomas," the skeptic among the Apostles, because of his statement "I will never believe [He has been raised] without probing the nailprints in His hands" (John 20:25). When I heard the account read again at this morning's Mass though, skepticism wasn't what I heard in Thomas' voice - it was grief.

Two days before, from afar, Thomas had witnessed Jesus' crucifixion. The man on whom he had pinned all of his hopes for the future was brutally murdered in front of him! Instead of God's kingdom breaking in and setting the world aright, Thomas saw it all destroyed. So when the other Apostles started telling stories about Jesus being raised from the dead, Thomas couldn't just grab onto it. Thomas was in shambles at that point - no, the only thing that could restore his hope was to lay his hands on the Body that had been tortured and killed. The Lord left Thomas in that darkness for another week, but at the time God perceived to be best, Jesus did come to him, "Take your finger and examine my hands. Put your hand into my side. Do not persist in your unbelief but believe!" (John 20:27).

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