In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. ‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’
After saying this he breathed on them and said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’
Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him: ‘You believe because you can see me.
Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’
There were many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.
The example of Thomas is set before us in the Gospel read at Mass on the Second Sunday of Easter.
Thomas who doubts: Thomas who stands out against the other disciples; Thomas who is favoured by the Lord; Thomas who responds so generously and fully when he is helped to believe.
How possible is it to give real assent to belief, if one has no personal reason to believe? Indoctrination can take place, of course. We accept all sorts of things without having given them much consideration. But belief surely requires something more.
Few are those who are granted the privilege that Thomas receives, but God offers us persuasive intimations of his presence and love in so many ways.
Thomas responds, eventually, and so generously.
- What difference does God’s presence to you make to you today?
Plaster cast of Incredulity of Thomas, SIlos: in collection of Victoria and Albert Museum, London. (c) 2007, Allen Morris