Immediately after the resurrection, it is most likely that the disciples continued to meet in the upper room where the Last Supper had taken place. Only now, the
"doors were locked," with the disciples listening fearfully for every step on the stair and every knock on the door, in case soldiers of the Sanhedrin should come and arrest them too. On the evening of the resurrection, with the disciples holding tightly to their fear, Jesus suddenly appeared in their midst. The only disciple not there was Thomas. Where was he? Why wasn't he with the others? Had he in his deep wound of sorrow chosen to be alone instead of with his community of disciples? Was it just too difficult for him to be with the disciples without Jesus? And why didn't Jesus put off his appearance until Thomas came back around? The scriptures never answer those questions.
The scriptures do tell us however, after that appearance, the disciples tried to convince Thomas
"We have seen the Lord!"
Thomas replied, "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."A week later, the disciples were once again behind those same locked doors, once again Jesus appeared in their midst. This time Thomas was there. Jesus greets all of them,
"Peace be with you!"
Then he turned to Thomas.
"Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Thomas answered, "My Lord and my God!" Take a moment to picture that encounter!
Often in this story we focus on Thomas' doubt - maybe because we are so much like him. This time, let's focus on Jesus. Why is it that Jesus' resurrected body carried his wounds? Wouldn't it have been better for everyone if they, we, could just forget about all that suffering? Why is it so important to God, that we see that Jesus could be both wounded and resurrected at the same time? Think about that.
Jesus neither denies his suffering, nor pretends it never happened. Instead he stands there alive holding a greater truth. God has met him in his suffering, journeyed with him through it and resurrected it all! If it is true for Jesus the Christ, it must be true for us as well.
For your reflection:
If you were Thomas where would you have been that evening of the resurrection?
What is it like for you to hold both suffering and resurrection faith at the same time?
Write a prayer today to the resurrected Christ.