Today is the feast of St. Thomas, the Apostle, and the saint my parents named me after. He is famous for being the doubter. He was absent when the resurrected Jesus appeared to the rest of the Apostles, and he would not believe them when they told him they had seen Christ. “I will not believe it until I put my hands in his wounds,” he said. When Jesus appeared again, Thomas was there. Jesus invited Thomas to touch his wounds and Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen and believe!”
I’m thankful for Thomas. He allows us to see that God is patient with our doubts. In fact, Jesus used the doubt of Thomas to encourage you and me in our “unseeing” faith. We can’t see Christ standing before us or touch his wounds, yet we can believe he lives. We see only bread and wine, yet we can believe that it is actually the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ we receive in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. We can’t see Heaven, but we can believe Jesus has prepared a place for us because he said so. We can’t always see the good that comes from our obedience to the Faith, but we know God does.
People are often hard on Thomas for his doubt, but Jesus wasn’t. Jesus takes our crooked ways and makes them strait if we let him. The lesson from Thomas isn’t that we should demand visible evidence for our belief. The lesson is that the doubt of Thomas was God’s tool to encourage us in our faith. “We walk by faith, not by sight.” My own name reminds me of this daily.