We’ll never know if Thomas put his finger into Jesus’s nail marks or touched the open wound at his side. John’s gospel today never says he did, although many artists have rendered that intimate touch. I believe that in the end, Thomas did not need that kind of proof. His belief was immediate having seen and heard the resurrected Christ for himself.
Anyone who wasn’t around with those disciples back then does not have that luxury. As Henry Alford’s famous text describes, “No gracious words we hear / From him who spoke as none e’er spoke; / But we believe him near.”
Our disadvantage is actually our blessing. Since our faith does not depend on seeing proof of Jesus’s resurrected human body, we have been given the gift of seeing him in every body. Most especially, we are called to see him in the wounded and the despised of our world.
Pope Francis said, “The thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds…it needs nearness, proximity” (“A Big Heart Open to God,” America, 2013). If your faith is faltering and God feels distant, then turn to the one who is wounded. There, faith will abound, for there we will find the risen Christ and, with Thomas, confess, “My Lord, and my God.”