I am a Doubting Thomas

“Thomas’ transformation from doubt to faith is a reminder that Jesus meets us where we are and invites us to a deeper relationship with Him”

In his homily for Easter Vigil, Pope Francis, in reference to the women who found the empty tomb, said that the women thought they (the women) would find Jesus in the place of death and that everything was over, forever.

Sometimes, according to the Holy Father, we too may think the joy of our encounter with Jesus is something belonging to the past, whereas the present consists mostly of sealed tombs: tombs of disappointment, bitterness and distrust, of the dismay of thinking that “nothing more can be done,” “things will never change,” “better to live for today,” since “there is no certainty about tomorrow.”

If we are prey to sorrow, burdened by sadness, laid low by sin, embittered by failure or troubled by some problem, we also know the bitter taste of weariness and the absence of joy, the pope adds.

Then the Holy Father emphasizes there are times, we may simply feel weary about our daily routine, tired of taking risks in a cold, hard world where only the clever and the strong seem to get ahead.

At times, we may even feel helpless and discouraged before the power of evil, the conflicts that tear relationships apart, the attitudes of calculation and indifference that seem to prevail in society, the cancer of corruption, the spread of injustice, the icy winds of war, the Pope said.

We may have come face to face with death, because it robbed us of the presence of our loved ones or because we brushed up against it in illness or a serious setback.

In times like this, the Pope said, it becomes easy to yield to disillusionment, once the wellspring of hope has dried up.

In these or similar situations, our paths come to a halt before a row of tombs, and we stand there, filled with sorrow and regret, alone and powerless, repeating the question, “Why?”

However, as pointed out by the Holy Father, the women at Easter, did not stand frozen before the tomb; rather, the Gospel tells us, “they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples” (v. 8).

They brought the news that would change life and history forever: Christ is risen! (v. 6).

They remember to convey the Lord’s summons to the disciples to go to Galilee, for there they will see him (cf. v. 7).

According to the Holy Father, going to Galilee means two things: on the one hand, to leave the enclosure of the Upper Room and go to the land of the Gentiles (cf. Mt 4:15), to come forth from hiding and to open themselves up to mission, to leave fear behind and to set out for the future.

On the other hand, to return to the origins, for it was precisely in Galilee that everything began.

There the Lord had met and first called the disciples.

So, to go to Galilee means to return to the grace of the beginnings, to regain the memory that regenerates hope, the “memory of the future” bestowed on us by the Risen One.

Reflecting on what the Paschal of the Lord accomplishes, the Holy Father said: it motivates us to move forward, to leave behind our sense of defeat, to roll away the stone of the tombs in which we often imprison our hope, and to look with confidence to the future, for Christ is risen and has changed the direction of history.

Yet, to do this, the Pasch of the Lord takes us back to the grace of our own past; it brings us back to Galilee, where our love story with Jesus began.

The Holy Father then asks us to remember our own Galilee and walk towards it, for it is the “place” where we came to know Jesus personally, where he stopped being just another personage from a distant past, but a living person: not some distant God but the God who is at your side, who more than anyone else knows us and loves us.

Then we come to the Gospel for the First Sunday after Easter.

The Gospel of John speaks of the time when the Risen Lord appears to his disciples.

According to John’s account, Thomas refused to believe Jesus had risen from the dead and appeared to the other disciples until he could see and touch Jesus’ wounds.

When Jesus appeared to him and invited him to do so, Thomas confessed his faith and called him “My Lord and my God.”

Jesus then said to him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Thomas wanted assurance and evidence.

He also wanted Jesus and needed a personal connection to the Messiah.

Thomas’ transformation from doubt to faith is a reminder that Jesus meets us where we are and invites us to a deeper relationship with Him.

It tells us of the stark reality that doubt is very much a part of our faith journey.

Yet Christ is calling us to totally repose our trust and faith in Him even when we do not see; when believing requires no tangible evidence; or even when we cannot see or understand the workings of His plan.

By faith, we are able to believe in God who is unseen, yet true.

Without faith, we won’t be able to see God’s glory (John 11:40), and without faith, we won’t be able to please Him (Hebrews 11:6).

These days as multiple health crises are hitting me, I am a Doubting Thomas. But I have hope that soon I will proclaim: “My Lord and my God.”

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