Feast of Saint Thomas, apostle
(Ephesians 2:19-22; John 20:24-29)
A debate in the philosophy of science centers on the question of the existence of spiritual being. Some philosophers hold that matter is all that there is. They try to reduce the mind to the material functions of the brain. More classical thinkers respond saying that the elements of matter cannot account for the intricate capacity of thought. They understand the mind as a spiritual substance dependent upon matter for its formation but having a reality apart from it. In today’ gospel St. Thomas seems to be a materialist until he meets the risen Lord.
When Thomas is told that the other disciples have seen Christ after he was crucified, he demands to touch Jesus’ body before accepting the fact of his resurrection. Jesus gives him the opportunity to do it. Does Thomas actually go ahead with the experiment? The Scripture does not say so. In fact, it indicates that he does not. Jesus says that Thomas believes only with seeing as the other disciples.
The passage ends with Jesus giving later Christians a blessing for believing in the resurrection without ever seeing the resurrected one. Because our times challenge such belief, we have to support one another in the faith of the resurrection. Orthodox Christians do this by a ritual statement and response. “Christ is risen,” says the priest. “He is risen indeed,” answer the people.