Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
MY LORD AND MY GOD. The Gospel of John seems to make the reader think that belief in what people saw Jesus did (his “signs”) and what they heard him say was the ideal response—in contrast to those who turned away in disbelief. Most episodes in John end with a statement on the response of Jesus’ audience of acceptance or rejection of his message.
But, then, in the story of the risen Jesus appearing to the disciples but without Thomas, that paradigm of seeing/hearing and response of faith is put into question, even turned upside down. This traditional paradigm comes in force when upon the invitation of Jesus for Thomas to feel the nail marks in his hands, and to put his fingers in Jesus’ side, Thomas exclaims in faith: “My Lord and my God!” But Jesus teaches Thomas a deeper, more radical response, a new paradigm: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Thomas is not unique in his “weakness” of someone who believes only after seeing proofs. Like Thomas, we are not inclined to believe if we do not see proofs or signs. The challenge for us, then, is to accept that we are still in the journey towards deeper, more solid faith in Jesus. It is easier to profess faith in him when things go well, when we are in consolation, when we are not tried and tested. But then we know how easily we can fall into despair and doubt when we experience God’s seeming absence or when we face seemingly insurmountable odds. In such times, Jesus invites us, “Do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.