Thomas answered Jesus, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” (John 20:28-29, NRSV).
This ending to the the reading from John seems so contradictory. Thomas just recognized Jesus when he touched His hands and feet, and answered “My Lord and my God!” Somehow, Jesus’ response seems harsh.
Every year when we read this Gospel text on the Second Sunday of Easter, in some church, some where one of the hymns sung is, “We walk by faith and not by sight.” Is that really what Jesus means in His reply to Thomas’ proclamation that Jesus is his Lord and God?
Thomas’ experience of the Risen Christ is the experience of contemplative prayer. It is not what we touch and see; it is how we respond to what is beyond our senses. Contemplative prayer is about how God touches us with God’s grace and leads us from the mere physical to the mystical. In contemplative prayer what seems illogical, becomes possible and tangible in ways that cannot be touched or felt; only believed and experienced by faith. It changes our lives because we encounter the Holy One who transforms us to see what God sees.
Do we believe because of what we see?
Do we believe so that what we don’t see becomes visible in the unexplainable, yet is very real?
Thomas answered, “My Lord and my God!”
What will our answer be?
Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB