The Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, December 21, 2011
Doubting Thomas. He was an apostle of Jesus. All four Gospels mention him as one. He was not present that first night Jesus appeared to the disciples in the locked room. He did not believe his brothers. He demanded proof that Jesus was alive, that He did appear to them. For their eyewitness testimony was not enough for him. He needed to see for himself, touch the wounds. Only then would he believe.
On the night of Jesus’ death, Thomas Jesus a question that evoked one of the most memorable sayings of our Lord. Jesus had just finished washing the feet of His disciples and revealed that one of the twelve would betray Him to His death. Peter, ever the bold and brash jumped into the thick of it, telling our Lord that he would fight for Him to the death. Jesus brought Peter back to reality and told him that he would not only not fight to the death for Him, but that he would deny that he knew the Lord of Life three times before the rooster crowed in the morning. Jesus then began to comfort His disciples, telling them He was going to His Father’s house to prepare rooms for them. and that they knew the way to where He was going. To this, Thomas said, “Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus replied, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes unto the Father unless He comes through Me.” In these two short sentences, Jesus staked His claim to be the salvation of the world. There is no other name in heaven and on earth by which we may be saved. “Show us the Father,” Phillip exclaimed. Jesus must have been exasperated at their inability to comprehend and perceive what He was plainly telling them, and He tells Phillip, “Just believe my words! Or if you do not believe them, at least believe based on the evidence of the miracles the Father has done through Me!” Faith. Christ calls us to be under His Word, to be subject to it. He said it, BELIEVE it. It is true.
What the scene must have been like, when Christ appeared again to the apostles, again behind closed doors. This time Thomas is present. Knowing Thomas’ doubts, Jesus goes directly to Him and bids Thomas to place his hands in His side, in the wounds of His hands. “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.
“You have believed because you have seen. Blessed are those who believe who have not seen.” This is the reality of the cross. Thomas came face to face with the wounds and scars borne by Christ. It brought to mind all the words of Jesus, the claims He made to be God in the flesh. And here, in his presence, stood the risen Lord of the Light, shining a light on the darkened mind and sight of His apostles. That light, for that moment, opened the eyes of faith in Thomas. It illumined his path to India, the ends of the earth where he followed the Way of Christ. That Way always, always is to the Cross for us. Never around it, or through it. We do not get to pick it up and lay it down. We get to carry that Cross, the one that meets us at the beginning of our walk, just as Christ did for Thomas. And in the darkest day of the year, a time of doubt and despair for many, we call upon the light of the Morning Star to shine in this world as He did for Thomas.