Today is Divine Mercy Sunday and the Gospel reading is Doubting Thomas. At last night’s liturgy on retreat, the presider asked that we change shoes with someone to get a sense of the old saying “Walk a mile in my moccasins.” It is so easy to judge people…like poor Thomas. Others did not believe but he is the one that gains the title of Doubter. Let’s walk in Thomas’ sandals for a bit.
The remaining apostles did not believe the women or the folks on the road to Emmaus. Somehow in this story, now that they have witnessed the Risen One, they have forgotten their original disbelief. Thomas has always resonated with me for various reasons but today I have been thinking that he was incredibly clear about what he needed to believe: Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe. What does Christ say when he greets Thomas: Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe. He gives Thomas exactly what he asks for–or at least the opportunity for it. John does not tell us that Thomas does this. Instead John gives Thomas the words we say at every mass as we look upon the body of Christ: My Lord and my God! The doubter’s words have become divine.
At the mass I wore a shoe that made me feel uncomfortable. It was a slightly smaller size than my own and so I held the two people that I have judged in my heart throughout the mass aware of how I cramp their style. At the raising up of the Eucharist, when normally we respond with a silent, My Lord and My God!, I placed them both in the wounds of Christ and released them. I pray that I may have more mercy in my future dealings with them.
I hobbled to receive the Eucharist, and realized that my lack of mercy burdens me and keeps me from walking a straight path. The words we say can come back to haunt us. Thomas somehow holds a negative connotation for most Christians when really we should honour the words of praise that he has given us. May we find mercy today to speak words of kindness and compassion.