A number of years ago, I found myself in India with a faculty member and a campus minister because we were on a scouting trip for an immersion project with Canisius College. One of our points of destination was the state of Kerala in the southwestern part of India. It is there that people believe St. Thomas landed so many years ago to bring the message of the risen Jesus to the people of India. There is a big St. Thomas research and conference center there, as well as a church dedicated to St. Thomas. He looms large! I remember having a feeling of touching the person of Thomas, walking the same earth, seeing the same sky and being among people descended from those long ago early Christians who knew Thomas and embraced his message.
In Kerala, he had come a long way from the unsure and doubtful apostle who couldn’t quite get his head around what the apostles were telling him. “We have seen the Lord!” Right! And that’s exactly what Thomas might have said when he first arrived in Kerala. It’s understandable that Thomas had difficulty believing. What he heard was rather unbelievable. But we see the response of Jesus…mercy, no reproach, but a tender invitation to see and believe! How do we respond when someone doubts us? Tenderly? Is our response: Peace be with you? The message of Jesus is clear. The first thing the risen Jesus wants for his disciples, and us included, is that peace be with us. How far our world has strayed from this desire of Jesus. But at the same time, it’s good to remember that there are so many people and groups working for peace. They don’t get the attention and recognition that negative happenings do. But Jesus continues to breathe forth his peace into the world and those who take a deep breath may catch it.
Thomas finally recognizes Jesus and bursts forth with his acclamation of faith: “My Lord and my God.” At last, he sees! He believes! Jesus then gives the greatest of gifts to those of us who also are his disciples. We have never “seen”, and yet we believe, and Jesus calls us blessed. This is not only a gift, but also an invitation, an invitation to become one of the many “blesseds” of the Scriptures and the centuries gone by. It’s an invitation to enter into the heart of the risen Jesus. We believe!
-Sr. Patricia Brady
Sisters of St. Mary of Namur . 241 Lafayette Avenue . Buffalo, New York 14213 . (716) 884-8221