Posted July 3, 2013 by FLL Editorial Team in
 
 

Blessed are those who have not seen and believed

John 20:24-29

It was not an accident that that particular disciple was not present. The Divine mercy ordained that a doubting disciple should, by feeling in his Master the wounds of the flesh heal in us the wounds of unbelief. The unbelief of Thomas is more profitable to our faith, than the belief of the other disciples; for, the touch by which he is brought to believe, confirming our minds in belief, beyond all question.

As to believe directly, and any how, is the mark of too easy a mind, so is too much inquiring of a gross one: and this is Thomas’s fault. For when the Apostle said, ‘We have seen the Lord,’ he did not believe, not because he discredited them, but from an idea of the impossibility of the thing itself: The other disciples therefore said to him, We have seen the Lord. But he said to them, Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe. Being the grossest of all, he required the evidence of the grossest sense, viz. the touch, and would not even believe his eyes: for he does not say only, Except I shall see, but adds, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side.

Jesus might, had He pleased, have wiped all spot and trace of wound from His glorified body; but He had reasons for retaining them. He showed them to Thomas, who would not believe except he saw and touched, and He will show them to His enemies, not to say, as He did to Thomas, Because you have seen, you have believed, but to convict them: Behold the Man whom you crucified, see the wounds which you inflicted, recognize the side which you pierced, that it was by you, and for you, that it was opened, and yet you would not enter there.

He who had been before unbelieving, after touching the body showed himself the best divine; for he asserted the twofold nature and one Person of Christ; by saying, ‘My Lord,’ the human nature by saying, ‘My God,’ the divine, and by joining them both, confessed that one and the same Person was Lord and God. But when St. Paul says, ‘Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,’ it is plain that things which are seen, are objects not of faith, but of knowledge. Why then is it said to Thomas who saw and touched, Because you have seen Me, you have believed? Because he saw one thing, believed another; saw the man, confessed the God. But what follows is very gladdening; Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. In which sentence we are specially included, who have not seen Him with the eye, but retain Him in the mind, provided we only develop our faith in good works. For he only really believes, who practices what he believes.

St. Thomas’ evangelical activity eventually took him to India where he founded the St. Thomas Christians of Kerala in 52 AD. The Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Catholic Churches descended from this community and are 2 of the 22 autonomous Eastern Catholic Churches in communion with Rome.

References:
Homily 26 on the Gospels (St. Gregory the Great)
Homily 87 on the Gospel of John (St. John Chrysostom)
A Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed (St. Augustine)
Explanations on the Gospels (St. Theophylact of Ochrid)


FLL Editorial Team