In the first reading we see the preaching of Paul. It is probable that Paul never knew Jesus prior when He was crucified and resurrected but came to know Him when Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus. Despite not having known Jesus during Jesus’s earthly ministry, Paul’s heart clearly was on fire. Twenty centuries later, one can almost hear the power of his voice urgently proclaiming the Good News that Jesus died to atone for our sins.
And then we have Thomas in the Gospel. Thomas is apparently the disciple who wants to make sure that everything is in order before being convinced. Before being sure that Jesus actually rose, he wanted to touch his hands and sides. Then, even in the face of Jesus’s soothing words that the Father’s house has many rooms and that Jesus will come back to guide the disciples home, this isn’t good enough for Thomas; he wants to know exactly where Jesus is going for fear that Thomas will get left behind.
Of course it’s easy to admire Paul and belittle Thomas, but I know I have a lot of Thomas in me and I bet I’m not alone. It seems clear to me that Thomas wasn’t in any way a person lacking in faith. He was just a bit of a worrier. He worried about what would happen the next day and about whether Jesus and God would really be there for him. I imagine he worried about a lot of the things that many of us do.
There aren’t really that many Pauls among us. I know I’d have a hard time running into a place of worship and boldly proclaiming the Resurrection to a bunch of people that I didn’t know. But that was Paul’s great gift.
We all have gifts and we all fail to use them at various points in our lives. Maybe that makes us all a little bit like Thomas. But look how much Jesus loved Thomas, because rather than rebuking him Jesus responds with one of the most loving passages in the Gospels: ““I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
If Jesus was there for Thomas he’s here for us now.
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