Saying 'My Lord and My God'

On Easter night Jesus appears to his disciples, showing them the wounds in his hands and his side. He breathes the Holy Spirit on them and communicates the gift of peace, the fruit of Easter, but Thomas is not present. And his absence cannot be accidental: Jesus did not wait for his return to the Cenacle but appeared when Thomas had left, perhaps for some urgent task despite all the risks and dangers that entailed. Jesus appears as risen and alive to his disciples while Thomas is absent, perhaps to make Thomas experience the struggle of believing, of going from unbelief to faith, because that would be instructive for us too. The Fathers of the Church claim that Thomas’s unbelief is more useful for us than the faith of the other disciples. Let us listen to Jesus’s words to Thomas: “Do not doubt but believe.” It is a word that creates what it says. Jesus seems to be saying to Thomas, “Come forth out of your unbelief and come into faith.” This is the word we ask Jesus to speak over our lives, to rescue us from our unbelief. If we are still sinners, if we are often lacking and fail in our friendship with Jesus, it is because we are not yet sufficiently believers; something in our minds, our wills, or our affections is still unbelieving. Let us ask for this grace: “Rescue me, Lord, from my unbelief and bring me to faith.” May it be granted to us to unite ourselves to Thomas in asserting, “My Lord and my God!”

—from the book Encountering Jesus: A Holy Land Experience by Vincenzo Peroni



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