Today is the feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle. In the Gospel, we read the beautiful—yet, ya know, also gross—story of Thomas, invited by Jesus to put his finger inside the wounds of Jesus and to believe. Thomas makes his moving confession: “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).
Jesus makes Himself visible at once in His appearance to Thomas, in His glorified body, with His wounds intact. But this is the exception rather than the rule in His post-resurrection appearances to His friends and relations. On Easter morning, His dear friend Mary Magdalene sees Jesus but mistakes Him for the gardener (John 20:15). Later that day, on the road to Emmaus, two close followers of Jesus, Cleopas and an unnamed person, get a miles-long breakdown of salvation history from the risen Jesus without recognizing Him (Luke 24:13-27).
Why does Jesus hide Himself from them? The answer comes in Jesus’ gentle conviction of Thomas, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” (John 20:29).
I am that person who googles the articles my aunts post on Facebook, because, yeah, those do NOT pass the sniff test. But count me blessed, because I DO believe in this, in all of it. I believe that Jesus died and rose again. And I believe that I am in the actual physical presence of Jesus when I approach the Blessed Sacrament. Even though like Mary Magdalene and Cleopas, His true glory is hidden from me. Even though I see Him under the appearances of bread and wine, I know it's REALLY HIM.
Jesus challenges us to believe without seeing. He gives us the Eucharist to help. Through the breaking of the bread, the eyes of Cleopas and his companion “were opened and they recognized him” (Luke 24:31).
Today, we can ask Saint Thomas, and trust in the Eucharist, to help us believe.