Then Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God” (Jn 20:27-28)!
Thomas’ acclamation “My Lord and my God!” came from his touching the wounds of Jesus. Jesus who had risen from the dead, had conquered death, and yet still bore the wounds of his Passion. This is a profound message to the Apostles, those Jesus sent to proclaim his Gospel, and for us who seek to follow him today.
The Body of Christ is still wounded by the sin and division of our fallen nature that put him on the Cross. This reality is a reason that many doubt and do not believe today. Many decry, how can a loving God allow such suffering and pain, especially of the innocent? Blaming and scapegoating, or putting blinders on and keeping the messiness of life at arm’s length is not the answer. The path of a disciple, an apostle, is to allow ourselves to be led by Jesus to experience with him our own woundedness, while at the same time, enter into the pain and suffering of others. Immersed in the chaos of life, like Thomas and the other Apostles, we come to touch the wounded side of Jesus .
May we resist the temptation to flee from the conflict, challenges, hurt, pain, and suffering that we and others are experiencing. Instead may we, with the courage of Thomas, accept the invitation of Jesus the Christ to touch his wounded Body. We do so when we are willing to touch one another, to be present and accompany those who bear his wounds: those who are vulnerable; the unborn, widows, orphans, refugees, immigrants, hungry, homeless, and those without access to clean water; those who suffer from addiction, poverty, depression, disease, oppression, prejudice, discrimination, dehumanization, racism, sexism, misogyny, unjust immigration policies, unemployment, underemployment, wage theft, human trafficking, domestic violence, slavery, violence, war, terrorism and natural disasters. For what we do to the least among us, we do it to Jesus.
May we resist the feeling of being overwhelmed, resist the temptation to rationalize or to be indifferent to the suffering in our midst. If we are feeling this way, it is because we are focusing on the problem and not the solution. Apart from Jesus we can do nothing, yet with Jesus, the one who conquered death, all things are possible! When we feel overwhelmed, helpless, or indecisive, may we acclaim with Thomas, “My Lord and my God!” trusting that he is present to us. Jesus is with us so we can be confident and on our way today to make our corner of the world a better place by reaching out person to person, to share a smile, a touch, provide a listening ear, and/or speak up or out for the dignity of those who do not have access or a voice.
Painting: The Indredulity of St Thomas by Caravaggio, 1601-1602
Link for the readings of the Mass for Tuesday, July 2, 2018: