Friday, December 22, 2017

'Doubting' Thomas: A Man of Great Faith

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. 
Then our mouth was filled with laughter and tongue with shouts of joy.”
Psalm 126:1-2a

This week we observe the feast day of St. Thomas the Apostle. Thomas often gets a bad rap. We remember him as “Doubting Thomas.” I remember seeing one cartoon that pictured Thomas speaking with another Apostle. The caption read: “All I’m saying is we don’t call Peter ‘Denying Peter’ or Mark ‘Ran-away-naked Mark.’ Why should I be saddled with this title?”

We all have doubts. We all have times of weakness where our faith in God seems to falter. John the Forerunner, after he baptized Jesus, sent his disciples to Jesus to make sure he really was the promised Messiah. Even Peter, the leader of the Apostles, thrice denied our Lord.

Great men have great struggles. Some struggle with doubt from time to time. But these doubts provide fertile soil for the gospel to grow. The story of Thomas teaches us that faith and holiness themselves are a gift of God, and Thomas receives those gifts upon gazing at our resurrected Lord. His doubt gives way to the greatest expression of faith in the Gospels. Peter calls Jesus the Christ; John the Forerunner calls Jesus the Lamb of God. But it is “doubting” Thomas, when grasping the full humanity of Jesus in his hands, declares Jesus is fully divine: my Lord and my God. Thomas knows the truth of the resurrection. He knows that death has been dealt a fatal blow. He knows that the head of the serpent has been crushed by the man standing before him. Like the Psalmist, his mouth is filled with laughter and his tongue with joy.

May we follow Thomas, discovering that our bondage has truly been restored in Christ Jesus. May our mouths we be filled with laughter and our tongues with shouts of joy as we join our voices with St. Thomas proclaiming that Jesus is our Lord, Jesus is our God.