Kathy Bernard - Publisher

“God is looking for ordinary people empowered by Him
to do extraordinary things!” – Unknown

"The Incredulity of Saint Thomas
Painting by Caravaggio  

Apostle Thomas is a man known and plagued by the label of “Doubting Thomas” for over two thousand years.  He made a human judgment, an honest blunder of faith by wanting concrete proof that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead.  He was not going to trust what the disciples told him about the resurrection; he wanted to see for himself the risen Christ.

Some of us even today cannot get beyond Thomas’ doubt and see the whole of him.  And yet there were disciples who did not recognize their risen Jesus.  We continue to focus on Thomas, who dared to need proof, forgetting his master achievements to spread the gospel.  For some people, his work is forgotten, relegated to a shameful and obscure corner.

John 11:16 tells us one of the stories of strength Thomas exhibited before the crucifixion of Christ:  “After hearing of Christ's plan to return to Judea where Christ was nearly killed, he told the other apostles, "Let us also go (to Lazarus' house) that we may die with Him." This passage, one of many others,  depicts the courage and the strong faith of St. Thomas.

It hardly seems fair to remember Thomas as the sole doubter.  He wasn’t the only disciple in the New Testament to express disbelief or doubt about reports of Jesus’  sightings after the crucifixion.  Peter and John, for instance, had to see the empty tomb for themselves rather than rely on the word of Mary Magdalene.  This parallels Thomas’ own doubt. Thomas wanted physical proof that Jesus had risen, but was singled out for putting his skepticism into words. That characterization of Doubting Thomas remains in place even though it doesn’t fit who he really was.

                                                                        Mary Magdalene Encounters Jesus

Mary Magdalene was the first to see Jesus.  John 20: 11- 20 tells us, “She didn't recognize Him until He called her by name   She stood outside the tomb crying and as she wept, she saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.  They asked, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put Him.”  At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.  He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?  Who is it you are looking for?”  Thinking He was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will get Him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.”  She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!”  Mary Magdalene, the first to see Jesus had not recognized Him immediately outside the tomb until He called her by name.  Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that He had said these things to her.”

Jesus appeared to the Apostles for the first time, coming through the locked door where they were hiding because they were afraid of the Jewish Leaders.  “Peace be with you!” After He said this, He showed them His hands and side.

Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.  So, when they encountered Thomas, the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

Despite listening to his fellow disciples excited voices, Thomas wanted personal proof that Jesus had risen from the dead and he said “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” 

"Eight days had passed and Jesus once again appeared to the disciples. This time, Thomas was among the witnesses of this moment.  Jesus stood with the disciples and said, "Peace be with you" and turned to Thomas. He said, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe." Thomas remarked that because he had seen, he was able to believe. "Jesus answered, 'You believe because you can see me. Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe' ". But Jesus did not hold Thomas' doubts against him. Instead He addressed those doubts and was faithful to the man He had called as one of His chosen.  He empowered Thomas to accomplish the tasks He set before him. John 20:26-29

Lest we forget, not one of us is perfect.  Consider St. Peter who followed Jesus as He was led to Caiaphas the High Priest where the scribes and elders were convened.  The chief priest, with the whole Sanhedrin, were busily trying to get false testimony against Jesus so that they could put Him to death.  And Peter, sitting in the courtyard watching, denied Jesus three times when asked if he was one of Jesus’ disciples. - (Matthew 26:57) (Matthew 69-75). And all of the disciples, except John, deserted Jesus at the cross.  

Luke 24:13-18 tells of others who were unable to recognize Jesus:  “Now two of them (disciples) were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing Him.

asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

They stood still, their faces downcast.  One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” Luke 24:13-18

“As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if He were going farther.  But they urged Him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So He went in to stay with them.  When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight. They asked each other,  “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” – Luke 24: 28-31

In the Gospel of John, the apostles have trouble recognizing Jesus when they are fishing near the Sea of Tiberias and Christ is standing on the shore (John 21:1-14). But we're told that the boat is at least 100 yards off shore, so it's not surprising that they didn't recognize him at once. Again, Mary Magdalene might have been supernaturally prevented from recognizing Him, just as the disciples on the road to Emmaus had been.”

Remember, there was much going on after the resurrection of Christ.   The chief priest and the guards were busily concocting stories to disprove the legitimacy of the resurrection:  Matthew 28: 11-15 tells “ … some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’  If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated to this very day.”

Imagine the chaos and utter confusion going on during this time.  Some of us today are obstinate about believing and accepting Jesus Christ, and like Thomas, do not want to yield to persuasion.  Those people too, in a manner of speaking, want to witness a miracle or “put their hands in His side as Thomas did.  But God has provided us with the bible, accounts of Jesus' life, and most importantly, His crucifixion and resurrection to strengthen our belief.  And we, who accept Him, have our faith verified by the Holy Spirit Whom Jesus promised to send us as He went back to His kingdom in Heaven.

There are eleven instances of Jesus' appearances before He returned to His Eternal Home.  However, it is implied in Acts: 9 and 1 Corinthians 9: 1-23 and other scriptures that Jesus made an appearance to St. Paul extending the number to 12 sightings.  And there may be also other appearances not recorded in the gospels. 

It is believed that St. Thomas was the only apostle to carry the Gospel message beyond the bounds of the Roman Empire. On his 3,500 mile evangelization journey, we are told that Thomas went to preach to the Parthians, one of those many nations whose people heard and understood the disciples, in what is now Iran. He also reportedly went to southern India to preach, where he established seven churches. Currently, there are 3.6 million members in the Eastern Catholic Church there (the Syro-Malabar Catholics), who claim that their church originated from these early church communities. In the year 72, Thomas was stoned and stabbed to death with a lance, a martyr for his faith in Jesus Christ.

Many of us today have behaved like Thomas at times, letting our doubts weaken our beliefs.  Always remember that out of this weakness comes the heavenly grace from Almighty God and Jesus Christ, our Savior Who will strengthen our faith.  And one day we as believers will be resurrected just as Jesus Christ was and we shall receive our glorified bodies; not like the old human bodies but an eternal body that will know no pain, no sadness and no more death.  We will live in glory forever more, safe in the arms of Jesus Christ. (see John 21:4-7).

Read more on the subject of St. Thomas using the links below:   

 Fr. Christopher George Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas.  (

 Rev. Fr. Stephen Yim is the Assistant Priest Church of St Teresa  - Archdiocese of Singapore:
  ( )



Come Holy Spirit - Sung by Brian Duncan


    "All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name,
and will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." – John 14:25-26

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