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Hendrick ter Brugghen, c. 1622 The Incredulity of St. Thomas Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


Luke 24:36-48 – Jesus Appears to His Diosciples

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’* They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.* While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate in their presence.

Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah* is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses* of these things.Shared from the Lectionary app. Material subject to copyright. Please visit the About this App page for further information.

A Reading from a homily of Gregory the Great

‘Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.’ Thomas was the only disciple missing. When he returned and heard what had happened, he refused to believe what he heard. The Lord came again and offered his side to his sceptical disciple to touch. He showed his hands; and by showing the scars of his wounds he healed the wound of Thomas’ unbelief.

What conclusion, dear sisters and brothers, do you draw from this? Do you think it was by chance that this chosen disciple was absent? Or that on his return he heard, that hearing he doubted, that doubting he touched, and touching he believed? This did not happen by chance, but by the providence of God. Divine mercy brought it about most wonderfully, so that when that doubting disciple touched his Master’s wounded flesh he healed the wound of our unbelief as well as his own. Thomas’ scepticism was more advantageous to us than was the faith of the other disciples who believed. When he was led to faith by actually touching Jesus, our hearts were relieved of all doubt, for our faith is made whole.

After his resurrection Jesus allowed this disciple to doubt, and he did not desert him in his doubt. He became a witness to the reality of the resurrection. Thomas touched him and cried out: ‘My Lord and my God.’

Jesus said to him: ‘Because you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed.’ When the apostle Paul says that ‘faith is the guarantee of the blessings that we hope for, the proof of the realities that are unseen,’ it is clear that faith provides the proof of those things that are not evident; visible things do not require faith, they command recognition. Why, when Thomas saw and touched him, did Jesus say: ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed’? What Thomas saw was one thing; what he believed, was another. A mortal could not have seen God. Thomas saw a human being, but by his words, ‘My Lord and my God’, he acknowledged his divinity. It was by seeing that he believed. He recognised the reality of the man and testified that he was the invisible God.

Let us rejoice at what follows: ‘Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed.’ This expression makes special reference to us for we have not seen him in the flesh but know him in the mind. The reference is for us, but only if we follow up our faith with good works. Those who give expression to their faith are the genuine believers.