July 3, 2015

Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle

(Ephesians 2:19-22; John 20:24-29)

Like Thomas some of us might question the resurrection of Jesus.  We might speculate that life would be simply neater if death were the end of our existence.  We could then set forth our own goals in life – be they making a million dollars, helping the poor, or raising a family – without having to consider the knottier question of whether we are working for salvation by assenting to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

The gospel today, however, asserts unreservedly that Jesus rose from the dead.  He appears not only to those inclined to believe but to a man who gives no credibility at all to the word of witnesses but insists on touching the wounds of the crucified before acknowledging him as alive.  This skeptical empiricist, of course, then turns into the person who makes the boldest claim of faith in all the gospels.  Thomas’ final words, “My Lord and my God” are always taken to mean that Jesus is not only God’s son, whatever that means, but God himself!

Of course, we can deny the historicity of Jesus’ appearance to Thomas.  We can say that this is just a pious story fabricated to get simple people to believe.  But does not such a stance deny our experience?  There is plenty of evidence to show that people of faith live fuller, happier lives facing hardship with less turmoil and recovering from setback more resiliently.  Likewise, when we call upon the resurrected Jesus, “My Lord and my God,” we experience the assurance of his guiding hand.