Gospel Jn 20:19-31

“These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ …”

The story of the Resurrection is one which is at the heart of the Christian message – and for many it is a real roadblock on the way to faith.

Thomas, perhaps often like us, is struggling with the idea of the resurrection, not having physically witnessed it himself. So often we read this questioning in a negative light, and we forget the great admonition of St Paul to ‘test everything, hold on to what is good’ [1Th 5:21].

For Thomas the seeming absurdity of the claims being made by the other Apostles of Christ’s resurrection had to be verified and Jesus was absolutely unafraid to provide Thomas with the opportunity to do just that.

It is particularly fitting that Jesus proved his resurrection to Thomas through the evidence of his wounds.

It is right here, in these wounds that we encounter Jesus. Commenting on this passage, Pope Francis wrote the “path to our encounter with Jesus-God are his wounds. There is no other.”

We might complain today that, unlike Thomas, we do not have the opportunity to physically feel these wounds which are imprinted on the flesh of Christ. How can I verify this claim of the resurrection today?

“We find Jesus’ wounds in carrying out works of mercy, giving to our body – the body – the soul too, but – I stress – the body of your wounded brother, because he is hungry, because he is thirsty, because he is naked because it is humiliated, because he is a slave, because he’s in jail because he is in the hospital. Those are the wounds of Jesus today…

Let us ask St. Thomas for the grace to have the courage to enter into the wounds of Jesus with tenderness and thus we will certainly have the grace to worship the living God.”

Point to Ponder

“We would be wrong to think that those who believe without seeing have greater faith than those who have seen. Faith is always faith in the Unseen; otherwise it would not be faith! Those who believed in Our Lord did not believe because they saw Him; after all, Mary Magdalen saw Him and at first she did not recognize Him! The disciples on their way to Emmaus saw Him, and they did not recognize Him at first either. It is not enough to see the Risen Lord in order to believe in Him. Something more is required: first, Our Lord has to reveal Himself, that is to say, He has to offer us the opportunity to recognize Him, better, He has to offer us the gift or grace of recognition. And second, we must have the interior dispositions that will allow us to accept this gift, and those interior dispositions are themselves a gift from God! The “advantage” of those who have not seen Him and believed must refer to something else; it cannot be a matter of greater faith… 

A revealing encounter with Our Lord Jesus Christ takes place through the mediation of something external to us, something which is the fruit of the faith of those who have faith. Those who come to believe in Him this way are “blessed,” or “fortunate,” more so than those who first saw Him, precisely because those who come later have at their disposal the testimony of the former ones. They have at their disposal the Tradition of believers, the Tradition of the Church, embodied in Sacred Scripture.”

Lorenzo Albacete, Easter homily, April, 1993.