Gospel Refection for the 2nd Sunday of Easter 23rd. April – Doubting Thomas
Poor Thomas! He is forever known as the one who would not believe that Jesus has risen unless he sees him with his own eyes and has concrete proof. And so he becomes ‘doubting Thomas.’
After his resurrection, Jesus continues appear to his friends and followers. Through his appearing to the men and women who followed him, he encourages them, he strengthens them and calms their fears. On one such appearance, he says to them, ‘Peace be with you,’ However, one of them is not there and he misses this experience that filled the disciples with joy. They tell Thomas that Jesus appeared and spoke to them. But he is neither convinced nor does he believe them. Doubting Thomas is born! We have to be careful not condemn Thomas for his apparent lack of faith. Rather, we should admire him for his honesty and conviction. He wants to meet and experience Jesus for himself. He will not believe what the others have told him unless he can actually put his fingers into the wounds of Jesus.
Eventually, Jesus re-appears to his disciples and Thomas is with them this time. Again, Jesus greets them with the great Easter message, ‘Peace be with you.’ Jesus wastes no time and speaks directly to Thomas. He invites Thomas to put his fingers into the wounds of the crucifixion, so that he may no longer doubt. But the gospel does not tell us that Thomas did as Jesus asked; he does not put his fingers into the risen and wounded Christ. Instead, he exclaims the great prayer that has come down to us through the centuries, ‘My Lord and my God.’ This is the prayer of someone who believes.
None of us go through life without struggles and doubts. There are times when we are at our lowest and weakest for various reasons. These are the times when can repeat the words of Thomas and refuse to believe that Jesus is really with us. However, just as Jesus was with Thomas, so Jesus is with us. He is with us when other people reach out to comfort and support us. He is with us when we reach out to help and care for others. Jesus is present to us when gather with the Christian community for the breaking and sharing of the bread. Jesus is with us when we are struggling to believe and when our faith is weak. Then we can pray, Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.
It is natural and even ok to have doubts. We all have them. Jesus did not condemn Thomas for his questioning doubt and neither does he condemn us. What we are called to do is not to give in or give up on Jesus, but to turn to him as Thomas did. When we have our doubts, can we echo and repeat the ancient prayer of Thomas, ‘My Lord and my God.’
- Michael Moore OMI
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