100 days – Day 5
Today’s Gospel is the story of “Doubting” Thomas
Caravaggio: (b. 1571; d. 1610) The Incredulity of Saint Thomas ( c. 1601–1602)
“Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.”
It’s commonly held that Thomas didn’t accept the Risen Christ’s offer, that his empirical world-view was superseded by FAITH; and so, because of faith, he believed.
This wonderful painting by Caravaggio would suggest otherwise and that Thomas did, in fact, take up Christ’s invitation.
Is Christ almost FORCING Thomas to carry out his earlier declaration, “unless I… place my hand into his side, I will never believe”?
Look at the furrowed brow on Thomas’ forehead; Christ’s strong grip of his wrist- is there hesitation here? Does Christ have to force a hesitant Thomas when the latter is actually with him.? Is this Thomas effectively being told to “put up or shut up?”, given his earlier bravado?
Perhaps Caravaggio caught something of what the author of the Fourth Gospel really meant to convey, but what others over the centuries have misinterpreted.
Thomas is, after all, the Patron Saint of blind people!
a friend posted this today on FB:
Tradition says that Thomas became a missionary to India.
There once was an Albanian woman in her thirties who felt God calling her to go to that same country where Thomas has allegedly taken the Faith.
This young woman went, and for the next 50 years she did amazing things.
But inside she doubted. She wrestled with faith. Sometimes she even questioned the existence of God.
The other disciples may have called her, “Doubting Teresa”. But we know her as Mother Teresa, the woman whose life many call saint-like.
The opposite of faith isn’t doubt – it is apathy; and sometimes – just sometimes our doubt can lead to an even stronger faith
About meenisterAn ordained Church of Scotland Minister since 1974. Started off in Doune which is near Stirling, before moving to Trinidad for four years; on my return to Scotland, I was a rural minister in Perthshire and then was asked to become Minister at St.Michael's Inveresk where I spent eleven happy years. A short ministry in Guernsey followed and since 1999, I was a full time healthcare Chaplain in the town of Dumfries in SW Scotland, retiring from that post in December 2012. I started this blog on 6 May 2012, soon after my wife, Helen, was diagnosed with secondary cancer - it was a sort of diversion and still is, following her death on 16 June. I hope it shows that there is a lighter side to religion, that it's not gloom and doom and that we can sometimes laugh at ourselves in a self-effacing way. Some posts are, however, I hope provoking and food for thought.
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