But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told 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 in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘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 20:24-29).
How might we experience contemplative prayer and mysticism as we think about this exchange between Thomas and Jesus? There is such a variety of messages in this Gospel Reading. They will speak to each person differently, depending on where you are and what you may be doing.
I would like to look at a few points and see how the Holy Spirit touches each of us.
Thankfully, we have moved away from naming Thomas as the doubting prude who just could not get it right. Alternatively, we now admire Thomas for the faith that he had to question the news he heard and wanted their experience to be his experience of the Resurrection for himself. In Thomas we see not only his opportunity for growth by knowing where his faith might be lacking; we see a version of our own. His insistence on seeing Jesus is his soul crying out to God to bring him to a place where he can see that Jesus experienced the same wounds that all of us experience, and know for himself that such wounds can be rendered powerless.
Jesus’ wounds are a sign of how God sees all of us with our limited human wounds that can keep us from knowing the Risen Christ and sharing it with others. God does not see us as hopeless. God sees our wounds in the Person of Jesus as the means by which God brought salvation to the world. If we can only allow ourselves to see God’s unconditional love through our own wounds and be open to God’s perfect power in our weakness; we can be a source of acceptance and healing for the world around us.
“What is not possible to us by nature, let us ask the Lord to supply by his grace” (RB:1980 The Rule of Saint Benedict. The Prologue, vs 41. p.165).
How does the encounter with Thomas and Jesus reflect your own experience with the Risen Christ?
Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB