Ephesians 2:19-22; Ps 117 Go out to all the world and tell the Good News; John 20:24-29
Today we celebrate the Feast of Thomas the Apostle. For today's meditation, I want to focus on the words of Thomas in the gospel and pair them with the words of Pope Benedict in his reflection on St Thomas the Apostle and how they impact us a disciples on the journey.
First we encounter these words in the gospel of John chapter 11.
As Jesus is going to raise Lazarus in Bethany, drawing dangerously close to Jerusalem and thus risk attracting the hatred of the religious leaders of his day which might lead to persecution and even death Thomas has these words to offer:
"Let us also go that we may die with him." (John 11:16) Thomas shows a determination to follow the master at all cost; he illustrates a total readiness to stand by Jesus. A disciple must be ready to spend his life together with Jesus.
St Paul says a similar reality when he speaks to the Christians at Corinthian, "You are in our hearts, to die together and to live together" (2 Cor 7:3). What takes place in a Christian community between its members must first be shared with Christ himself: living together, dying together, being in his heart as he is in ours.
Then on the night of the Last Supper, after Jesus tells the apostles to not let their heart be troubled that they should have faith for he was going to prepare a place for them and would come back and take them to himself (Jn 14), again Thomas speaks up:
"Lord, we do not know where you are going, how can we know the way." (John 14:5) Thomas places himself at a low level of understanding. This recognition of Thomas provides Jesus with the opportunity to declare and pronounce his famous definition, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." Jesus is not afraid for us to ask for explanations. It is necessary to share with him our lack of understanding. It is necessary to recognize that we do not know it all.
Lastly, when Thomas misses out on the first appearance of Jesus in the upper room after the resurrection, he expresses the following sentiment:
"Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe." (John 20:25) From these words emerge the conviction that Jesus can now be recognized by his wounds rather than by his face. In his wounds are revealed how much he loved us. Jesus reappears and offers Thomas the invitation to touch and see (John 20:27). Thomas handed down to us a beautiful profession of faith, "My Lord and My God."(John 20:28)
Jesus follows up Thomas' profession with these simple words, "Blessed are those who do not see yet believe." (John 20:29) Here Jesus spells out a fundamental principle for all Christians.
Thomas' encounter with Jesus in the locked room holds out for us three things of consideration.
1)It comforts us in our insecurity; 2)it shows us that any doubt can lead to outcome brighter than any uncertainty; 3)Jesus' words remind us of the meaning of mature faith and encourage us to persevere despite the difficulty.
These are simple reflections from Thomas's life in the gospel and Pope Benedict's reflection with a few of my words thrown in to boot. Happy reflection. Pax et Bonum.