Horatio

Horatio
[Photo by Jacquelyn Griffin)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Third Thomas

I don't normally recycle my own posts, but here's one that I think is worth revisiting in view of today's Gospel reading, the story of Thomas the Doubter.

I write this just an hour before it is the Feast Day of St. Thomas the Apostle. St Thomas is, of course, commonly thought of as "Doubting Thomas" based on John 20:24-28.

But I'd like to point out a different aspect of Thomas tonight. In John 11:7-16, when Jesus is called back to Judea to Lazarus's death-bed, the following takes place:
Then after this he said to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.’ After saying this, he told them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.’ Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’ Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow-disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’
Think about that, because to me it's the flip side of Thomas' doubt. Thomas believes that Jesus is going into danger--his death--and that this danger will engulf them all. He answers with a fatalistic courage that would do a Norse saga hero like Skarp-hedin proud, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him." Pretty good, that. St. Thomas may have been slow to accept the tale his friends told of the Risen Lord, but he had a clear-sighted vision of what was to come in the return to the environs of Jerusalem, and of what it might cost him.

And walked in with eyes open, and no expectation that he would walk out.

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