I've been reflecting on this past Sunday's Gospel reading, because the reading about Thomas always gets me. In case you don't remember it word for word, here is the part I'm talking about. The disciples are in a locked room when Jesus appears to them after his resurrection, but Thomas missed out.
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.”
~ John 20: 24-29
CHANGE OF VIEW
Now, I used to be in the camp that thought Thomas was pretty irreverent for just demanding some proof like he did. But in 2008 or so, my whole view was changed. I was working in youth ministry and one of my colleagues recommended the book "The Losers Club: Lessons from the Least Likely Heroes of the Bible" by Jeff Kinley, so I read it. There's a whole chapter dedicated to Thomas and what we can really learn from him.
Kinley points out a little recalled fact about Thomas- in John 11:16, before Jesus' crucifixion, when Jesus decides to go to Jerusalem, Thomas was the first to say that he was ready to go to Jerusalem with Jesus, even if that meant his own death might be a result. Thomas had faith in Jesus, and knew of the rumors that Jesus was alive; but I can't blame him for being skeptical of the things people were saying in a time of great stress and trial. It's not all that surprising that Thomas is not quick to believe Jesus is alive; it's not exactly a daily occurrence for someone to be raised from the dead. Kinley also points out that Thomas states exactly what he needs, and Jesus, who knows what Thomas needs to have his faith restored, grants him exactly what he requests. After Thomas sees and touches Jesus, he breathes one of the most beautiful acts of faith: "My Lord and my God."
I think we can all learn a little something from Thomas about being straightforward with God. God already knows our needs, but if you are anything like me, a lot of times I feel the need to make my prayers flowery and beautiful so God will be impressed with my choice in vocabulary instead of just getting to the heart of the issue. As we continue in this Easter season, let take the time to recognize God's action in our lives and utter the simple and beautiful prayer of Thomas: "My Lord and my God."
Author's note: A great place to utter this prayer is before the Blessed Sacrament- and if you've been needing some Adoration time, you're in luck! There is an Arise coming up this Saturday, April 18 at St. Mary's Visitation in Elm Grove. If you can't make it there, there is always Cor Jesu on Wednesdays at St. Robert's in Shorewood!
Arise Blog Coordinator