Thomas was weird—judging by these readings, anyway. He was with the disciples before Jesus’ crucifiction, so he must have witnessed the miracles Jesus performed. Jesus even raised Lazarus from the dead. So why was it so hard for him to believe that Jesus himself conquered death? This gospel reading makes Thomas seem faithless. In the context of today’s readings, that attitude seems out of place. In the first reading, all those cure-seekers wanted was for Peter’s shadow to fall upon them. They knew he was Jesus’ guy, so they had faith that he had the healing power they needed. And in the second reading, John’s faith is strengthened by signs showing him God’s will for him. He had faith that the vision he saw of Jesus was legit and it changed his life and ours at that very moment. Today, when we read John’s testimony of what he saw Jesus do and heard him say, it’s hard not to be inspired and comforted by Jesus’ presence in those words.
So maybe Thomas’s weirdness was a tool Jesus uses to our advantage. We in this modern world have been numbed by all the wonders of science and technology, so it’s hard to be amazed at much anymore. In that way, Thomas was ahead of his time. After all he saw and heard Jesus do, he needed ultimate proof that Jesus was able to top himself and rise body and soul from a tomb—sporting all those mortal wounds that would make such a feat impossible for anyone else. He wanted to probe those wounds to be sure. Forget that stuff about being touched by shadows, nothing but a post mortem would do for Thomas. He would have fit quite well into our modern world.
Blessed are they who see themselves in Thomas’s doubt and then share in his renewed belief without the aid of his CSI moment probing Jesus’ body.