“Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “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.” Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
In reading through the Gospel for this Second Sunday of Easter, John portrays just a glimpse of some of the confusion that took place shortly after Jesus had been crucified, and had risen, though it was only known to some. To the misfortune of Thomas, he was not with the rest of the disciples when Christ appeared to them the first time. Because of this, when Christ did appear, and the disciples told Thomas after the fact, he easily remained unconvinced of the story. What a terrible person, right? Not so fast- if we are truly honest with ourselves, and know the context and calamity that had befallen them, we may not be so quick to judge poor Thomas in such a light. If we are mindful of our own challenges, maybe he begins to reflect some of our own experience.
In fact, maybe “Doubting Thomas” isn’t the only one whose faith can be slow to believe…
Admittedly, our Catholic faith is not something that is easy to digest, especially in the context of today’s culture, even when we compare it to the time of Christ. We encounter all kinds of evils, questions, confusion, chaos, hurt, suffering, and many other stumbling blocks along our faith journey. It simply isn’t easy to say that our faith makes sense, for example, when an attack takes countless innocent lives- and yet our faith calls us to charity and forgiveness. It isn’t easy to say our faith makes sense when the Bible says God is always there, and He seems to have left us “in the dark.” It isn’t easy to say our faith makes sense when we are called to extol our brothers and sisters to virtue, when it would simply be easier to simply focus on ourselves or let well enough alone.
Christ speaks not only to Thomas’s heart, but to ours, when He says that those are blessed who have not seen and yet believe. If faith were easy, it would have no reward. If gold is not tried with fire, it remains impure. So too is our faith. In some ways, Thomas has been called to a greater task. Maybe he could have had more faith; perhaps he was doing the best he could at that time. Regardless, so many times we can easily identify with Thomas in removing God’s way for our own, because ours makes more “sense.” Maybe we want Christ to come and show us Himself in the different situations that occur- perhaps then would we be able to exclaim, “My Lord and My God!”
In the end though, that is not what Christ has called us to. Christ is, instead, calling us to a great task, and that itself we may not be able to currently see. However, with our eyes of faith wide open, we trust that, one day, we may see by the light of Christ Himself, not only in faith but in His full glory. It is in this way that faith will help us make “sense” of it all, through Christ Himself.