In today’s Gospel we read about Thomas, the apostle who was missing when Jesus first appeared to the others after the resurrection. Thomas refused to accept the story of Christ’s appearing until he was granted the same privilege as the others by also being a first hand witnesses to the Risen Lord. I think Thomas was well within his rights to desire equal treatment and that he has wrongly been called, ‘the Doubter” ever since. Apparently, Jesus agrees because he appeared to Thomas too.
Who amongst us has never doubted? If you can say that you’ve never doubted I say congratulations and please tell me what’s that like? In fact, most of us have at some point in our lives doubted our faith, the resurrection or the very existence of God. I like to call doubts the “dumb bells” of faith. Useful equipment needed to stay in top condition. I don’t say that without some thought. Our faith needs to be exercised and strengthened, especially so it can carry us through tough times, even times of doubt. We should meet our doubts straight on, and ask others to help us in our doubts. Doubts are nothing to judge one another on.
The other things that are significant from our Gospel lesson today and which are often overlooked are what Jesus initially says and does. He offers “peace” to this lost, frightened and doubting group of followers. And he gifts them with the Holy Spirit, that’s God’s Spirit, by the way. Jesus gives them exactly what they need in such troubling times, peace in their current circumstances and a way forward guided by the Spirit of God.
Obviously, the goal of utilizing our doubts to help build the muscles of our faith is belief in the Risen Lord. We are not to wallow in our doubts any more than an athlete would do nothing but weight training. There are other exercises that are beneficial too. Times of rest are important to overall health. This is as true for the soul as it is for the body. It is in fear that the apostles locked themselves behind closed doors. In the midst of our fears may the Risen Lord appear in peace and with the promise of the Holy Spirit. Let’s unlock the doors and invite Christ in so that we may all “come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing [we] may have life in his name.”