Ephesians 2:19-22; Ps 117 Go out to all the world and tell the Good News; John 20:24-29
"unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my hand into his side, I will not believe..."
These are the words of St. Thomas, the apostle, when he discovers he missed out on the appearance of the resurrected Jesus.
IT is interesting to note that in the gospels, the identity of the risen Lord is no longer perceivable by his face or his voice but rather Jesus is recognized in two ways through the breaking of the bread and by the showing of the wounds on his hands and his feet.
There is something different about Jesus in the resurrection that keeps his disciples from recognizing him otherwise.
But, the true and authentic identity of Jesus is revealed by the wounds of Love.
Is this not what St. Thomas is after in the first place!
We often call him doubting Thomas but truth be told, Thomas just simply refused to accept a counterfeit Jesus. He wanted the real mccoy.
Shouldn't this be the case for all of us. None of us should ever settle for anything less than the real Jesus who bears the marks of love.
It is Thomas's doubt that actually leads him to a deeper faith and stronger conviction.
So it is with us. Doubt is not necessarily an enemy of faith but rather it can be that which deepens and perfects the faith if we follow through.
I remember when i was in room visiting the churches. On one afternoon I found myself in the the church of the Holy Cross. In this church there is a side chapel which is dedicated to the passion of Jesus. AS you climb the stairs you make the way of the cross. Then as your turn right you enter a smaller chapel that has a reliquary that contains remnants of the crucifixion.
There in this reliquary was a thorn believed to be from the actual crown Jesus' wore. There were pieces of the true cross, the sign that hung upon the cross that read INRI in three languages, there was a nail and other things that brought to mind the passion of JEsus.
One object that was a bit odd and striking at the same time was a finger and it is believed to be the finger of St. Thomas. I know it sounds a bit weird even as I write it bit truth be told it gave me something to ponder.
As I sat there and reflected on the passion of Christ, was immediately captured by the thought of that encounter with JEsus and Thomas where the invitation to put the hand in the nail marks and finger in the side came rushing to me.
As I pondered that image, I began to think of the many moments of doubt in my life. What I realized was that the doubt was essential to my discernment. It was my doubt that got me to investigate and to ask questions and to seek out the truth.
It was my doubt that ultimately led me to the seminary and led me to be ordained. It my doubt that helped me discover the true identity of Christ as the one who reveals the wounds of love.