Today’s Gospel left me thinking that St. Thomas gets a bad rap. His question was an entirely reasonable one. Think about it. You have followed, indeed, loved, a rabbi, teacher, mentor. The mentor is killed brutally. You miss him terribly — after all, you loved him. You also feel disappointed and discouraged (see Emmaus, Men of). You probably feel a little taken advantage of. Maybe you’ve been trotting around Galilee and Judea for the better part of three years for nothing; what are you going to do now?
Yet, you are hearing that this man — someone you know to be very, very special, but still a man — has literally raised himself from the dead. You saw this mentor, rabbi, raise Lazarus (but you still wonder) and the son of the widow of Nain. Yet, you’ve had enough. But you still believe enough to wonder. Could it really be? Buy you’re not going to be fooled again.
Then, your closest friends tell you that this Man, this rabbi, mentor, is truly risen. No way!? But you’re afraid to give yourself again. Fool me once, it’s your fault; fool me twice, it’s my fault and all of that. But deep down you want to give yourself to this Man, this rabbi, this mentor, this friend. So you throw up a barrier, you demand evidence — show me the wounds. SHOW ME!
If that’s how you thought, you would have been thinking the same as St. Thomas and all the rest. They had to see, too. They didn’t understand either. Notably, there is no indication that they believed until Christ walked into the closed room.
St. Thomas, though, did something that they did not. He affirmatively confessed the Christ was his “Lord and God.” Not the Son of God. Not the Messiah. But GOD. He was the first to recognize that the man he saw was “true God and true man,” not just man. What is more, when St. Thomas encountered the Risen Lord, he didn’t hesitate; he didn’t hold back. St. Thomas gave himself unreservedly to Christ. Not a bad example. Not a bad example at all.
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