Doubting Thomas - John 20, 24-29

The ’doubting Thomas’ story was intended to be the final story of the Johannine Gospel; Chapter 21 is a later addition to the Gospel. The Gospel of John had begun on the highest note: the Word which was God became equivalently Jesus of Nazareth. Throughout the Gospel the author means to have his reader remember always that the Jesus of the public life is the Word-made-flesh, that Word which was from the beginning and without which nothing came into being. This theme explains the wondrous story which is the culmination of the Evangelist’s effort. The story is a resurrection story, which builds on the prior absence of Thomas when the risen Jesus appeared to his chosen disciples. Thomas will believe that Jesus is risen from the dead only if he can touch Jesus, i.e. his wounds and wounded side. Once Jesus appears again to his friends, with Thomas present, the outcome is most unexpected. The logical response of Thomas to his being able to see and touch Jesus should have been: I believe you are risen from the dead. Instead, Thomas makes the leap which springs from the certitude that Jesus is risen: my Lord and my God. Finally, someone believes, as no one else had, in the full meaning of Jesus: Lord and God. To go beyond the resurrection, and all previous signs about Jesus, to the very core of Jesus - this is the finest fruit of the Gospel witness, and it is the hope of the Evangelist that whoever reads his story will reach that same belief, that Jesus is nothing less than my Lord and my God. John Kilgallen, SJ

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