Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to 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 into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
I have had many times in my life when I have used the phrase, “I doubt it.” I remember when I was waiting to hear back from graduate school to see if I was going to be accepted. People would ask me if I thought I would get in to the school that was top on my list, in my in breath I thought, “I doubt it,” and what in my exhale breath I said out loud, “I hope so.”
I know that for the things I really want to believe or hope will happen, I often hedge my bet with “I doubt it.” I know it seems like a silly way to think and plan, but somehow at least until recently, it was a way to protect myself from being disappointed.
In the gospel for Sunday 19th, we encounter yet another experience of a disciple being afraid to accept that their beloved Lord had risen from the dead. Peter and the other disciples did not believe Mary Magdalene when she came to them to tell them she had seen the Lord; in fact they ran to the tomb to check the story out. This week we hear again the story which gave Thomas his nick name, “Doubting Thomas.”
Maybe Thomas is like me, afraid to believe that his deepest hope is true, that the Jesus has risen and is the Messiah. Maybe like most of us he has had experiences where his dreams and hopes didn’t take place and his response to that disappointment knocked the wind out of his sails.
What is really amazing to me is that when Jesus addressed his disciples with peace and invited Thomas to touch His wounds, Thomas didn’t deny his previous statement but rather moved to a statement of faith, “My Lord and God.” As I walk this Easter season’s invitation to live the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection I want to leave behind my disclaimer “I doubt it,” to history as I live into the Easter reality, “My Lord and My God.”