The Second Sunday after Pascha in the Orthodox Church is dedicated to the Doubt of St. Thomas. I find it interesting that we would set aside a Sunday, after we just celebrated the Feast of Feats, to the doubt of one of the closest followers of Jesus. I find great consolation in the fact that the Apostles were real people with real faults and doubts.
Many years ago when I was about to enter the novitiate in the Benedictine Monastery I had to choose a name that would be given to me by the abbot. I could have used my given name, and my mother would have been pleased if I had by the way, that name is Michael. But I wanted to have a new name to go along with the new person I was going to become in the monastery, so I chose Peter.
I had to justify my choice of names and so I wrote in my letter to the abbot that I chose Peter for several reasons. One was that the feast day of St. Peter is the same day and my birthday and therefore it would be easy to remember and the second was that Peter always seems to catch on just a little after the others and he was always putting his foot in his mouth. Just like me! So, here I am today, as Peter.
Thomas was just like the rest of them. He was chosen by Jesus to be one of his closest friends and would go on, as tradition tells us, to found the Church in India. But Thomas had doubts. He was not present when Jesus appeared the first time and when he heard the story he was skeptical like many of us would be. He was a real person and he needed real proof of what was going on. His world had really changed in the last few days and he was scared.
So Jesus returned and told Thomas to touch him and place his hand in the wound in his side. Scripture does not tell us what Thomas did with the exception of crying out, “My Lord and My God!” In an instant Thomas was converted.
We all have doubts. In this world we live in it is hard to have faith in anything. We have lost faith in people, we have lost faith in the government, and many people have lost faith in the Church. Jesus told us that the world would hate us and we are seeing His words come to pass. It is not easy to have faith when attacks are coming from all corners and the very ground under us is shifting. We need stability and I pray that the Church can be that place!
Doubt that leads to understanding is, in many ways, the doubt that Thomas had. He did not write off what the others were telling him he was just skeptical of it. He needed more information and his doubts lead him to seek that information and understanding. We need do the same thing. If we have doubts we need to ask questions. We need to seek out those who can give us the straight answers and not some watered down politically correct version of the truth. The world today needs a clear voice that will clear up the doubts and uncertainty that we all have. That voice needs to be the Church.
Thomas had doubts, but that doubt was turned into great faith and that faith was used to change the world. Where is your faith? What are your doubts and concerns? Where are you turning for answers?