Throughout this past week at Daily Mass, we have read and reflected on the different accounts of Jesus’ appearances to his disciples after he rose from the dead. These eyewitness accounts are important, because they remind us that the resurrection is not an elaborate lie or fabrication. There were many different people who saw the risen Jesus before he ascended into Heaven, and many of these early disciples were willing to die defending the truth that Christ is risen from the dead. This witness speaks volumes to us, even 2,000 years after the resurrection!
The path to belief was not always an easy one, though. In today’s Gospel, Thomas gives us a perfect example of this. However, I think that Thomas often gets a bad rap. We label him as “Doubting Thomas,” and characterize him as someone who obstinately refuses to believe the testimony of the disciples that Jesus rose from the dead. We may even see Jesus’ words to Thomas as a rebuke, where Jesus questions why he ever doubted in the first place. This is the way many of us have been taught to read this Gospel, but when we think about it for a bit, some things don’t make sense. For example: if Thomas absolutely refused to believe the truth of the resurrection, why did he remain with the other disciples?
There is another way that we can look at this passage. What if Thomas wants to believe their words, but can’t? Could his “doubt” just be a way of expressing that he wants to have the same experience that the other disciples had? If we look at Thomas in this way, then it makes sense why he remained with the other disciples and waited for Jesus to return. And when he finally sees Jesus, he makes one of the most profound professions of faith ever recorded in Scripture: “My Lord and my God!”
This profession of faith has become a prayer that many people say during the Mass, when the Priest elevates the Host and the Chalice after the words of institution in the Eucharistic Prayer. They are a reminder to us that the Lord truly appears to us in the Eucharist, just as he appeared to Thomas and the other disciples in the other room. As we continue to rejoice in the Lord’s resurrection during this Easter Season, my prayer for each of you is that your hearts and minds will become more open to the presence of the Lord among us. May the Resurrection be a reminder of the great mercy that God has for each of us and help us to remember that we have all been redeemed through the blood of Christ shed on the cross.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB