Faithful curiosity

Daily Reading for May 3

Why does the hand of a faithful disciple in this fashion retrace those wounds that an unholy hand inflicted? Why does the hand of a dutiful follower strive to reopen the side that the lance of an unholy soldier pierced? Why does the harsh curiosity of a servant repeat the tortures imposed by the rage of persecutors? Why is a disciple so inquisitive about proving from his torments that he is the Lord, for his pains that he is God, and from his wounds that he is the heavenly Physician? . . .

Why Thomas, do you alone, a little too clever a sleuth for your own good, insist that only the wounds be brought forward in testimony to faith? What if these wounds had been made to disappear with the other things? What a peril to your faith would that curiosity have produced? Do you think that no signs of his devotion and no evidence of the Lord’s resurrection could be found unless you probed with your hands his inner organs that had been laid bare with such cruelty? Brothers, his devotion sought these things, his dedication demanded them so that in the future not even godlessness itself would doubt that the Lord had risen. But Thomas was curing not only the uncertainty of his own heart but also that of all human beings. And since he was going to preach this message to the Gentiles, this conscientious investigator was examining carefully how he might provide a foundation for the faith needed for such a mystery. . . . For the only reason the Lord had kept his wounds was to provide evidence of his resurrection.

From Sermon 84 of Peter Chrysologus, quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament IVb, John 11-21, edited by Joel C. Elowsky (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2007).

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