St. Thomas the Apostle

stthomas

Today's readings 

"Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."

Thomas sometimes gets a bad rap for having said that, but if we're honest, I think most of us can understand Thomas's hesitation to believe, since we have all probably struggled with belief at some point in our lives. And Thomas had good reason not to believe: the apostles were all frightened for their lives, having seen their Lord taken away to his death. Certainly that brings some healthy wariness to one's thoughts, words and actions.

I wonder sometimes if Thomas's response was an expression of hurt. For whatever reason, he was not present when the apostles first saw Jesus. They had a wonderful experience of the Lord that Thomas didn't get to have. That wonderful experience helped them all to believe in the resurrection. It seems natural to me that Thomas may have felt a little left out, a little unjustly deprived of the Lord's presence. After all, Thomas had been with Jesus just as long as the others, so why should Jesus choose to appear to them when he couldn't be present also? We've all had experiences like that too, I think.

But Thomas need not have felt deprived, because he was given an opportunity the others didn't get: he got to reach out and touch the Lord Jesus, an experience way more intimate than just seeing him. We get to have that kind of experience too. In a few minutes, we will all get to come forward and reach out and touch the Body of our Lord, allowing the Lord to enter our lives and our selves once again to fill us up and send us forth to be his disciples.

We've been a lot like Thomas, I think. We've all struggled with our faith, we've all experienced the hurt that comes from being left out. But we're also all given the opportunity to have a real experience of our Lord by reaching out to receive him. So may we, all of us who have not seen but have believed, may we all cry out with Thomas, "My Lord and my God!"

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