Poor Thomas! He is remembered for one thing: his doubting! But we can understand his doubting. The story of his friends - that Jesus was alive - seemed to make no sense. Many people approach the resurrection just as Thomas did. They demand evidence. Faith is reasonable and it should be subject to probing and understanding.
Today people seek a scientific explanation for reality. We have learnt to have such confidence in reason and science that it can seem as though they hold the answer to everything. But science itself now tells us that there are questions that are not susceptible to such inquiry. I know little about these things but am led to understand that quantum physics comes in here.
Science and technology have expanded our knowledge beyond the wildest expectations of our ancestors. Their limits are simply the limits of their own field of inquiry. They do not cover the whole of reality. Our life in the spirit and our ascent to the divine are not areas that can be explained in scientific terms.
So we come back to Thomas. While Jesus gave him the proofs he asked for he reproached him nonetheless; “Doubt no longer but believe.” Move to that other level of knowledge which we call faith. Thomas, like the others, had spent quite a long time with Jesus and they should have, I suppose, grown in their faith. But it seems they didn’t. When the going got tough they all fled.
What they really needed was an encounter with the risen Jesus. It seems the resurrection made all the difference. When Thomas eventually saw him his doubts vanished: “My Lord and my God!” There was something definitive about the resurrection. It changed everything. How else can we explain these frightened men “standing up” (Acts 2:14) fearlessly and addressing the crowds?
It is the same today. Pope Francis, early in his letter, the Joy of the Gospel, writes, “I never tire of repeating those words of Benedict XVI, ‘being a Christian is not the result of some ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.’”
That is what happened at the resurrection then and it is what happens now. It happened with Thomas and it happens with anyone today who searches for the Lord with all his or her questions and doubts. “The one who searches finds” (Luke 11:9). What we need today is an encounter with the living Lord.