How would you like to be remembered? Most of you would say as a loving spouse, parent, sibling, and friend. Poor Thomas! He is remembered by most as a doubter. Can you blame him? His doubt was understandable. The other disciples claimed to have seen the Risen Lord, come back from the dead, who passed through locked doors with a real body with the mark of nails on his hands and his side pierced by a lance, talked to them, breathed on them, and gave them the power to either forgive or retain the sins of others like God himself. It all seemed unbelievable. It was no wonder he wanted tangible proof before he would believe. “Unless I see the marks of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I WILL NOT BELIEVE.”
Imagine waiting for a week, hearing the others talking about the Risen One and trying to convince Thomas. I imagine Thomas would repeat his words of disbelief many times that week. However, they are still afraid even though they claimed to see the Lord. Notice the doors were still locked. And then it happened! Once again Jesus was present. He knew about Thomas’ words and challenged him to do what he said was necessary for him to believe. There’s no indication that Thomas did that, but only his words of belief, recognizing Jesus as Lord and with an even deeper profession of faith than the rest of the disciples by calling Jesus “my God.” That is how Thomas should be remembered. We, as disciples of the 21st century, rely on the words of others to come to faith. But, we too seek tangible proof of the resurrection. And, it’s all around us, sitting next to us in this community. Here we find people devoted to the teaching of the apostles, praying together and breaking bread, sharing their possessions with others, striving to bring about justice and peace, trying to bring reconciliation in families, among races and nations. Here we find people practicing the works of mercy: feeding the poor, clothing the naked, giving drink to the thirsty, comforting the sorrowful, visiting the sick, phoning or texting the lonely.1 We are tangible proofs of the resurrection. May we be remembered as such.