Saint Thomas, whose feast day we celebrate today, is most often remembered for being a man who doubted. Today’s Gospel highlights “doubting Thomas" and his skepticism in seeing the risen Christ.
After Christ's journey on the road to Emmaus, He appears to the disciples in Luke 24:36. They are completely stunned, and Jesus asks them, “Why do doubts arise in your hearts?” He then invites them all to touch Him to believe that it is truly Him. It is important to note that Thomas was not present in this initial encounter with Jesus. He was not the only one who doubted.
In these post-Resurrection moments of doubt, Jesus does not rebuke His disciples for their confusion and questioning. He understands that His Resurrection from the dead is incredibly difficult for the human mind to grasp. So He invites them all to the same action. He invites them all to reach out and touch Him.
When we feel skeptical, when we question, when we search, we each get to choose the direction that doubt propels us to move, toward God or away from God. We can reach out or recoil. In his doubt, Thomas moved toward God. He reached out to the resurrected Jesus. Belief washed over him as he declared, "My Lord and my God!"
His heart is transformed once again when he reaches toward Jesus, so much so that he goes on to die a martyr many years later. Thomas, however, is not often celebrated for the way he valiantly stood for his belief in Jesus. Few talk about the way he let his intimate encounter with the wounds of Christ become reason enough to die. Very few highlight the beauty of his faith when he said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him." (John 11:16)
Today, on this beautiful feast day, Saint Thomas' life offers good news for the skeptics, the questioners, and the ones who are searching. If you are like me and you've ever found yourself in one of those categories, we are in good company. We are in the company of martyrs like Thomas . . . people who wrestled, who struggled, and who ultimately, in continually seeking the heart of the Father, came to believe that Christ was worth living and dying for. He may be remembered as "doubting Thomas," but who he came to be is Saint Thomas, the Martyr, who shed his blood for his belief in the resurrected King.
Pray for us, Saint Thomas, that in our moments or seasons of doubt we may continually reach out to encounter the heart of the living God.
Emily Wilson-Hussem planned her whole life to become a sports reporter but turned out to be a Catholic musician and speaker at the hand of God. She lives out of her suitcase and travels across the world speaking to people of all ages. The heart of her ministry is offering encouragement to teen girls in search of their true identity, and she loves ever second of it. She is the author of I Choose the Sky. You can find out more about her here.