On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
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 he 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.”
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
From skepticism to faith
The story of Thomas Didymus is one of movement from skepticism to faith. At first, he does not believe that Jesus has risen from the dead. Although he had accompanied Jesus to Bethany and witnessed how Jesus raised the dead Lazarus to life, this has not created in him any readiness to believe in Jesus’ resurrection. Only after Jesus has spoken to him directly and addressed his doubts in a very personal way does Thomas “surrender” and exclaim, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus then addresses Thomas and, through him, the Christians of later generations, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
The future disciples must accept a new type of relationship with Jesus: a post-glorification discipleship. It is believing without seeing the historical signs of the earthly Jesus but relying on the testimony of the believing community, now incarnated in the very text of the Gospel of John. The Gospel has precisely been written “that you may [come to] believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name” (v 31).
Two wounded hearts. Jesus invites Thomas to touch the marks of the nails in his body and of the soldier’s lance in his side (heart). Jesus, as it were, speaks from his wounded heart, a heart full of love, a heart from which life-giving graces now flow. Jesus invites Thomas to “heal” this heart by believing and, in the process, heal his own heart, too. Both hearts have been wounded during Jesus’ passion. Both can now become “wounded healers.” In the case of Doubting Thomas, his story is “healing” with its assurance that if we believe that Jesus is alive among us—even without seeing him—then we are living a life that is nourished by the spring of salvation: “Rivers of living water will flow from within him [from his heart]” (Jn 7:38).
SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2020,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.