Saturday, April 06, 2002
In Defense of Thomas, the doubter.
This Sunday which now is the Feast of Divine Mercy is also the Sunday where we hear the story of the Apostle Thomas who is not locked in the room with the other surviving (minus Judas) Apostles. He always gets a bad rap, undeservedly so, I would say. Of course my reasons are that I often share his lack of belief when the messengers aren't acting exactly like they believe.
Remember on the way to Jerusalem, one of the Apostles had pointed out that a certain death awaited Jesus if he went back to Jerusalem.Jesus undeterred continues to journey toward Jerusalem.Thomas is recorded as saying, "Let us also go, that we may die with him," (John 11:16). This is the voice of a believer not a doubter, ready to die for and with Our Lord. Later when Jesus says, "You know the way that I am going," and Thomas doesn't understand he says so, "Lord we do not know where you are going, how can we know the way?" (John 14). Jesus replies, "I am the way."
So we reach the moment after the crucifixion has passed whe Scripture tells us, "On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews," (John 20:19). We find out later that Thomas was not with them, why not? Remember that they were in the room for "fear", Thomas had said "let us go to die with him." He was not afraid, he was out and about his business. This also explains when he comes back to the disciples still locked in the room that he does not believe them. Why should he? If the Lord is alive, why are they so filled with fear?
When Jesus appears to him, he believes! Our Lord tells him and us that "Blessed are those who have not seen and believe." It is very easy to doubt whe we see modern day Apostles locked behind clerical doors for fear of the press, or scandal, or law suits, or the laity. It is easy to wonder if they really believe in the power of the risen Lord, but guess what among the Apostles there are Thomas out there, who are open, unafraid and living examples who act without concrete proof but only their faith. We need more Thomas' in the Church today--this would truly be a gift of the Lord's Mercy to us.