“Look put your finger here; look here are my hands. Give me your hand, put it into my side.”

John 20:27

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

John 20:19-31

Thomas is not among the twelve when Jesus appears to them in the Upper Room the first time. When they tell him that they have seen the Lord, he cannot believe what they are telling him. To be fair, who can blame him? Thomas reacts as most of us probably would have in the same situation. He says that unless he can see for himself that it is really Jesus by putting his hands into his wounds, he will not believe. It must have been a difficult eight days as the other disciples talked about the experience they had had of the Lord. I suspect that there may have been a fair bit of tension between Thomas and the other disciples.

And then Jesus returns specifically for Thomas’ sake and speaks the same words of peace. Thomas must have felt such a mix of feelings. Joy at seeing his Lord and teacher again; embarrassment and shame at not having believed the other disciples’ testimony and not believing that Jesus could rise from the dead. It was evident that Jesus knew what Thomas had said – that he refused to believe unless he could touch the wounds of Jesus for himself – because he invites Thomas to do just that.

Often, we struggle to believe and trust too. Faith is not always easy, and for some, it is more difficult than others. In times of loss and grief, it can be especially hard. Our response is often mixed, part of us believes or wants to, and part of us struggles. Like that powerful prayer of the father who sought Jesus’ help for this son, we may say, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

When we struggle, Thomas is a good person to have a conversation with and to ask to intercede for us for the gift of faith. And remember that as with Thomas, Jesus will find a way to help us to find faith in him again.

Reflect today on:

When has my faith hit a difficult patch?

What helps me to reconnect with my faith in God?

Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell

Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell has worked in the area of Ignatian Spirituality for 19 years and heads up the work of the Jesuit Institute School of Spirituality. Her primary focus is the training and supervision of spiritual directors and the giving of retreats. She is also a registered Psychologist and her PhD focused on the interface between Christian Spirituality and Psychology. Annemarie is an editorial advisor to “The Way” journal of Spirituality and has authored a number of articles relating to the training of Spiritual Directors in an African context. She has contributed to several books, most recently co-authoring a book of Lenten Reflections: “Long Journey to the Resurrection”. She has contributed to international conferences and consultations in Spirituality in the United Kingdom; the United States; Rome; Spain, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

a.paulin-campbell@jesuitinstitute.org.za @annemariepc_c
See more from Annemarie Paulin-Campbell
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