Archive for the ‘Scripture’ Tag

Re-Post: Faithful Thomas

Today’s Gospel (John 20:19-31): Jesus and “Doubting” Thomas

I’ve always thought it is wildly unfair that Thomas gets such a bad rap. I mean, the guy had a good point—he needed some evidence. What is wrong with asking for a sign? If I walked into a room and 11 of my friends told me that they had just seen Jesus, I’d think they were all crazy, and you can be certain I would want some sort of sign! But nonetheless, poor Thomas ends up being the poster child for doubt.

Tonight at Mass, the celebrant pointed out something I had never realized: just a few chapters before the doubt incident (Ch 11), Thomas had been the most faith-filled of all the disciples. As Jesus was preparing to head back to Judea, the disciples warned him not to go.  They reminded him that last time he was in town, people tried to stone him.  Thomas, however, was filled with faith in Jesus’ mission.  Thomas said to the other disciples “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” That doesn’t sound very “doubtful” to me. In fact, that is one of the boldest statements of faith in the entire Gospel of John.

Why, then, is Thomas remembered as the one who doubted Jesus, and not as the faithful believer?

I think that we need a figure like Thomas. We need to be reminded that even someone who lived and walked with Jesus every day, and who saw him perform miracles all the time, can doubt.  We need to know that even though we have followed Christ in the past, and made radical statements of faith, that we are human. We doubt. And we need signs, and we need serious help. We need to know that we’re doing the right thing, loving the right way.

And you know what? Thomas asked for a sign, and Jesus gave him one. Jesus appeared a week later, and he wasn’t even angry with Thomas for doubting. He knew the poor guy just wanted some proof. So he showed up, showed off his wounds, and said “Do not doubt but believe.”

We are human, after all. And we are deeply loved. And sometimes, even though we’ve seen some great things happen, we just don’t get it. Something is still missing. So we ask for a sign. And then we wait, and pray for the grace to recognize it when it shows up.

Bob Rice

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