St. Thomas - July 3

The feastday of St. Thomas the Apostle is over, but there remains a consideration that is valuable for undersanding the Gospel of John, in which Thomas’s story occurs. The ’Thomas story’ is the story that completes John’s presentation of the Jesus event (John 21, while inspired Scripture, is a later addition to the Gospel; as such, it can be expected to have real ’punch’ to complete the Gospel. The story, in brief, shows Thomas as unbelieving that the statement that Jesus is risen, alive. He says, "Unless I touch him, I will not believe." When Jesus appears and asks Thomas to touch him, the logical conclusion should be that Thomas, touching Jesus, now believes. But that is not the conclusion. John’s conclusion is that Thomas says, "My Lord and my God". That is the proper, appropriate (and only reasonable) conclusion to meeting the risen Jesus. Thomas, as it turns out, is the (only) one of the Gospel who expresses the depth of who Jesus is. The entire Gospel has been at pains to have the reader confirm his profession of faith at Baptism; it has given many signs (and monologues of Jesus) to establish in the reader this deepest conviction, to know that Jesus is nothing less than the reader’s Lord and God. The two verses that conclude the Gospel (30 and 31) tell the reader this fact: the entire work of John has been written ’so that you may believe Jesus is Messiah and Son of God, so that, believing this, you may have life’. Thomas is the one chosen to close the Gospel, to express a belief that will result in eternal life - which, after all, is the supreme benefit John ultimately offers to anyone searching for it. In a sense, the Thomas story is not just a story, but THE story which expresses John’s reason for writing. John Kilgallen, SJ
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Workers march in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sept. South Africa's biggest union group held marches nationwide to protest what it alleges is chronic corruption fueled by President Jacob Zuma and a prominent family of businessmen, reflecting public anger over a scandal that has ensnared several international companies. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
The bishops “urge constitutional experts and the law reform commission to guide the nation on the feasibility of establishing an anti-corruption court, with specialized prosecutors, that would ensure speedy and efficient disposal of corruption cases and financial crimes.”
Russell Pollitt, S.J.October 19, 2017
“Goodbye, Christopher Robin” is a dramatic look at the life of the British writer A. A. Milne and his strained relationship with his son.
Haley StewartOctober 19, 2017
There are no epidurals for manuscripts.
Natalia Imperatori-LeeOctober 19, 2017
Photo by Beth Teutschmann on Unsplash
The ghost turnip, with its pinched angry face, was made for Halloween.