Is it any wonder that Thomas doubted the Lords resurrection? When Thomas stated that he would not believe unless he had seen the wounds in Jesus’s hands and side, it is precisely because he had seen the absolute brutality that had created those wounds. His doubts were a natural human reaction. The interesting thing about those doubts though is that while they appear in Thomas, they also seem to disappear in Peter. In the readings that have followed Easter Sunday, Peter proclaims Christ and heals in his name. Gone is the denial that occurred before the crucifixion and the indecisiveness that had occurred so many times prior to Holy Week.
It seems that Thomas had witnessed for a long time what had made the wounds in Christ, he was now about to encounter the mercy that come from those wounds. Thomas was not the first to encounter the risen Lord, and I have to wonder what it was that had kept him away, what was it that made him distance himself from Christ? The agony of the cross I suspect would be enough to harden any ones heart, and Thomas I am certain was a hardened individual. I guess for Thomas he recognized the wounds of Christ because he bore so many wounds of his own. Reaching out to those like Thomas was perhaps different than Christ’s appearance to Mary at the tomb. Mary, a witness of the resurrection of her brother, could not find Christ dead in a tomb even though she searched there. She was the one that had the ability to tell the others of the risen Lord and perhaps her testament opened the eyes of the others. Thomas though was distanced from the group, he was that sheep caught in the thickets. He was the one singular lost sheep that Christ had promised to retrieve and bring back to the fold. Jesus does reach out to Thomas and asks that he touches His wounds so that he might believe, to which Thomas cries out “My Lord and my God.” His doubts become the strongest testament to the resurrection.
People like Thomas are not difficult to find today, they are the ones that lie at the fringes of society. They are the ones that bear the wounds of injustice, they are the poor, they are those that suffer through discrimination, and they are the ones that are so often crushed by those whom abuse power and authority. They carry many of the afflictions that caused the wounds in Christ. What would it take today for those disenfranchised to believe that Jesus has risen? I would answer that encounter would come through Christ’s mercy delivered by His present day disciples. Like Thomas, Christ asks that we touch those wounds, that we confront them. He also begs that we accept the grace that flows from them, it was that mercy that is the passion of Christ. It was out of love that He hung on a cross. It is then His mercy that we are called to deliver to others that they also might be witnesses to the risen Lord. Love one another as I have loved you. That mercy is at the heart of Christian charity, both to confront the pain contained in the wounds and become a part of Christ’s divine mercy. Divine Mercy Sunday is a day to reflect on the Mercy of Christ, to understand the mercy of His passion, and to become an instrument in that mercy. It is a reminder to be merciful Christians, and to carry that mercy to others.