Weekly Reflection - Don't doubt it...
2 July 2021
The Very Revd Simon Cowling
Tomorrow is 03 July, the date on which the Church remembers St Thomas the Apostle. Thomas will forever be known as ‘doubting Thomas’ – the disciple who was not present when the risen Jesus first appeared to the disciples in St John’s Gospel, and who refused to believe unless he had physical proof. St John goes on to describe the encounter between Jesus and Thomas a week later. The artist Caravaggio memorably depicted this encounter in a graphic, almost gruesome, representation of St Thomas putting his right forefinger into a hole in Jesus’s side. But careful attention to the text of St John’s Gospel shows that, in the end, Thomas does not actually touch Jesus at all. When confronted with the truth of what he had doubted, Thomas’s need for physical confirmation gives way to a response of pure faith as he proclaims My Lord and my God. Thomas understands that he must move from a reliance on the physical presence of Jesus to a mature and lasting faith in the risen Christ that transcends the material limits of merely human experience.
Pope Gregory the Great wrote that Thomas cures ‘the wound of our own disbelief’. In other words, Thomas’s experience teaches us that it is such a mature and lasting faith that we, too, must seek as a gift from God. Like Thomas, there may be times when the need for physical proof overwhelms us. Yet at the very heart of our doubts stands the one whom we proclaim to be the same yesterday, today and forever; the one whom we, with Thomas, claim as our Lord and our God: Jesus Christ, our risen Saviour.
With prayers and good wishes,