Thomas and Mary Magdalen Show the Way


Thomas and Mary Magdalen Show the Way

We often label Thomas “the Doubter”. Perhaps we might call him the pragmatist, the seeker. Notice that Thomas was not with the disciples the first time Jesus appeared to them. Where was he? Perhaps like Mary and some of the other women he was out searching, trying to figure out what had really happened. He obviously was not cowering in the upper room in fear.

I can understand Thomas’ skepticism when he joins the other disciples in the upper room and they declare that Jesus had risen from the dead and had appeared to them. If that were really so, why are they still cowering in fear, hidden away from the rest of the world? Why were they not out sharing this wonderful news with other disciples of Jesus, with the crowds who had followed him over the years. Thomas may have thought that the disciples were just expressing an outlandish hope out loud. After all, there were numerous instances over the years where the disciples just did not get it, or got it completely wrong. So Thomas’ assertion that he would not believe the disciples’ claim that Jesus was risen is perfectly natural given the circumstances.

We have just celebrated the Triduum; we journeyed with Jesus through the Last Supper, along the road to Calvary to the cross and rejoiced at his resurrection from the dead. As Jesus shared his mission with the disciples after Thomas’ profession of faith, he has also given us the gift of the Spirit and sends us to proclaim the Good News and build the Kingdom.

The Gospels tell us that Mary Magdalen and other women went to seek Jesus and we have to wonder what Thomas was doing when he was not with the others in the upper room. They were obviously seeking answers to their fundamental questions. They were seeking validation to Jesus’ promise that he would return from the dead. They trusted Jesus’ word and set out to discover the truth of the promises. As we might question the disciples hiding away, we might also ask “What holds us back?” If we truly believe what we have celebrated, then like the early community of disciples described in Acts, our hearts and lives would be transformed and we would constantly seek ways to fulfill the mission handed on by Jesus. Am I ready to respond; are we ready to respond? Will we learn from Thomas, Mary Magdalen and the other disciples and continue to grow in the certainty of our faith and our response to Jesus’ call?

By Richard Beaudette, OMI