Faithful Despite Doubts — Divine Mercy Sunday—2nd Sunday in Easter—Year C

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.”

Why is “Doubting” Thomas so slow to believe. Why is Thomas so reluctant to trust? A clue might be found in the gospel’s interesting inclusion of Thomas’ Greek nickname: Didymus. Didymus means “twin,” but in relation to whom was Thomas a twin? Some speculate that Thomas the Apostle bore a striking resemblance to Jesus Himself. This tradition is sometimes reflected in iconography where Thomas is the apostle who looks a lot like Jesus.

If this is why Thomas was the apostle called “the twin” then we can understand his rational skepticism. How many times during Jesus’ ministry had people come up to Thomas and said, “O Jesus, we’re so happy to see you! We’ve walked for miles to see you again!” Then, with some annoyance, Thomas might have answered, “We’ll you’ll have to walk a little bit further. Jesus is over there.” So now, when the other disciples come up to Thomas after Easter and say, “We have seen the Lord,” Thomas replies, ‘I’ll need more evidence than that.’

Thomas’ resistance to believing the good news about Jesus might not only be coming from his mind, but also from his heart. Jesus was Thomas’ hero, his teacher, and his close, beloved friend. Thomas thought that Jesus was going to be the savior and messianic king of Israel. But their close relationship and all of Thomas’ great hopes were destroyed for him at the crucifixion. Imagine how Thomas might have prayed then: “My God, why have you let this happen? How could you let Him be taken instead of me? Jesus was so good! He was completely innocent, and you let Him be die! Why?”

The unexpected death of Jesus broke Thomas’ heart, and having been so hurt once, Thomas was resolved not to let his heart be taken in again: “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.”

Yet, though he doubts, notice where Thomas is one week after Easter. He is with the other apostles in the upper room in Jerusalem, gathered behind locked doors for fear of the authorities who killed Jesus. Now there are lots of other places Thomas could have chosen to be. There were safer places he could have gone, like back to his hometown and to the extended family and friends he had left behind to follow Jesus a few years before. Though Thomas doubts, he does not leave this house of faith. He struggles with his faith, but does not abandon it. He seeks within this house of faith, this Church, and because of it, Thomas finds sufficient evidence for his mind and healing for his heart.

The risen Lord appears in the upper room and how does Jesus respond to Thomas’ resistant unbelief? Not with anger.  Not with condemnation.  But with the divine mercy we celebrate today. Jesus appears in their midst and says, “Peace be with you.” Then he says 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.”

In our lives we too will struggle with our faith and our doubts, with our emotions and with our thoughts, in our hearts and in our minds. Jesus does not condemn our honest struggles. But Jesus wants us to sincerely seek within this house of faith; this, His apostles’ Church, where the truth and healing is found by all those who seek Him.

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One Response to “Faithful Despite Doubts — Divine Mercy Sunday—2nd Sunday in Easter—Year C”

  1. Katie Reigel Says:

    I am glad to know I am not the only person who struggles with these things!!!

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