Gospel: Jn 20:24-29
Thomas, the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.“ But he replied, “Until I have seen in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.“
Eight days later, the disciples were again inside the house and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you!“ Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; stretch out your hand, and put it into my side. Do not continue in your unbelief, but believe!“
Thomas said, “You are my Lord and my God.“ Jesus replied, “You believe because you see me, don’t you? Happy are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.“
It is a pity and quite unfair that the nickname “Doubting Thomas“ will forever be stuck with the apostle whose feast we celebrate today. Such a moniker has glossed over his heroism in bringing Christianity to many places as far as Kerala in southern India (according to an old tradition).
In another sense, however, there is also a good side to that. Thomas makes the apostles seem more real, more human like the rest of us. His experience tells us that it is normal to have doubts, once in a while. Thomas was just being honest when he expressed his hesitations and fears. Going back to his experience will certainly help us in moments of uncertainty, in moments when we lose our self-confidence, in moments of suffering, disappointment, failure or even the loss of a loved one. At such moments Thomas is a comfort to us because his experience is an acknowledgment that believing is no easy task. It is a risky venture which demands a lot of courage and trust because we hardly have any evidence that what we believe in is true. We can see ourselves in Thomas the skeptic and cynic.
His personal encounter with the Risen Lord, however, transformed him. His doubts, fears and uncertainties disappeared. We may not encounter the Risen Lord in exactly the same manner that Thomas and the other apostles did but we do encounter him in various ways especially through the sacraments. Unlocking our hearts to him would allow us to receive the gift of faith that would drive away our fears, doubts and uncertainties.