Sunday 16 April 2023
Jn 20:19-31

“But Thomas (who was called Didimus, meaning the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord’. But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe’. A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you’. Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe’. Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’”
(Jn 20:24-29)

When the Risen One appears to His disciples in the evening of the “first day of the week”, the day which became Easter Day, He doesn’t come with empty hands. He gives them “Shalom”, the gift of peace! At this point, the Evangelist names Thomas, a personality who had remained in the shadows throughout the Gospels. He is one of the Twelve, part of Jesus’ community. And he is notable here by his absence: “he was not with them”. Where would he have been on such a special day? Maybe he was evangelising? That is doubtful given his response! What is clear is that he wasn’t anticipating the news of resurrection and demonstrates a huge need for concrete evidence: “If I can’t personally touch… I can’t believe!” So, Thomas’ problem is incredulity and a lack of trust in his brothers and sisters. In fact, he doesn’t believe their testimony. Incredulity, or lack of belief, is like a centrifugal force that produces the effect of carrying us out of the community environment. And this is exactly where the Lord appears: in His mystical body, the Church. Jesus then visits the community again, and the Evangelist points out that “Thomas was with them”. Now Thomas can touch Jesus, and, from this direct experience, he makes the most beautiful proclamation of the Gospel: “My Lord and my God!”

Disappointment, discouragement, mistrust… are part of life and we all need to confront them sooner or later. In this sense, we are all ‘twins’ of this Apostle who was also called Didimus, meaning ‘the twin’. And if we already find ourselves distant from our brothers and sisters, it is time to return home, and join with the others, just like Thomas did!

Fr. Giuseppe