Eucharistic Readings for Thomas the Apostle December 21
“Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with the other disciples when Jesus came.” (John 20:24)
Today we reflect on Thomas the apostle. But before we get into Thomas as the so-called “Doubting Thomas,” let’s ask why Thomas was not with the other disciples. The now ten (Judas has killed himself) are continually locked in a room. Only Mary Magdalene and some other women are running around getting provisions and giving updates on Jesus sightings to the apostles, save Thomas. Why?
This makes me ponder. Having been in small groups I understand that sometimes I just need to get away for a minute. Perhaps the decisions of the group are going in a direction I don’t agree with. Maybe there is an irritation growing and trust is eroding within the group. These men are human just like me. The feelings I have today are some of the same feelings they, and in particular Thomas, might have had then. When Thomas says, “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,” maybe this statement was about his disbelief of the ten, not something he thought Jesus couldn’t do, or would do.
Thomas shows courage in the Gospel of John. When Jesus is warned about going back to Jerusalem that he might be killed there, “Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (John 11: 16) This surely shows both his character and his courage. Also, Thomas speaks up when he doesn’t understand something that Jesus said. When Jesus announces his approaching death and tells them that they know the way he is going, the confused Thomas speaks up, “Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (John 14:5) Of course this sets up the place where Jesus declares that he is “the Way the Truth and the Life.” (John 14:6)
With all this evidence of his courage and character most of us still like to hold Thomas as the doubter – Doubting Thomas, we like to refer to him. It’s a shame. Thomas has so many good qualities. Why is it we often label people by maybe one slip or flaw rather then look at the whole of a person and find a more suitable name for them? Maybe Thomas the True-Hearted would have been more suitable. I know that even with my sometimes doubts, I need to be more like Thomas, how about you?
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John