It starts in the childhood playground and often lingers through adolescence and even to adulthood. I refer to nicknames. Red-headed Renee or Ricky become known as “Reds.” Other such labels derive from a person’s usual behavior or some event in the classroom or the ballfield, or whatever event that everybody else remembers.

Case in point: the naming of St. Thomas as “The Doubter.” In retrospect, it’s an unfair nickname given to this Apostle who makes a beautiful act of faith to the risen Jesus. (Imagine him doing so on his knees.) Ever since then, Thomas’ statement “My Lord and my God” makes a perfect prayer to say as the priest elevates the sacred Host right after its consecration as the Body of Christ at every Mass.

At any rate, this incident surely makes St. Thomas the patron saint of those who have doubts, especially about our holy Faith. I presume that includes a lot of us from time to time. Let’s start with doubt about the Eucharist truly being the Body and Blood of Christ. Sadly, that embraces a lot of surveyed Catholics these days. Then there are those who doubt our Church’s teachings, sometimes only because they don’t like them.
Moving on from there, we have people who doubt the goodness of life here “below heaven.” Doubt their own goodness as God’s creatures. That means they doubt the person in their mirror as having value.

We must always remember that doubt itself is morally neutral. It spurs on a healthy “proing” into what our Church teaches. That, in turn, can lead to a renewed faith. Open-minded research into this or that teaching provides previously untapped evidence. Of course, some teachings, like the Holy Eucharist, ultimately depend on faith, nurtured by prayer. We can be sure St. Thomas prayed.

Today is the Octave, or the eighth day of Easter. Pope St. John Paul II designated it as “Divine Mercy Sunday.” This is a beautiful devotion based on the visions of a holy Polish nun named Sr. Faustina, wherein Our Lord Himself bids us to trust in Him. That’s what St. Thomas did with renewed vigor in that Upper Room. We can do the same. As an anonymous writer put it: “Doubt makes the mountain which faith can move.”

God love you and give you His Easter peace.

Rev. Peterson’s Reading & Gospel Summary

Reading I: Acts 4: 32-35

This selection is a summary of the community’s support for each other and the power of the Apostles’ witnessing the Resurrection.

Reading II: 1 John 5: 1-6

True obedience to the Lord’s love command is shown by interaction with others. Faith opposes the world’s ideas about how to live.

The Gospel: John 20: 19-31

The author identifies the crucified Jesus with the risen Lord. Thomas’ doubt turns into a beautiful act of faith. Jesus’ blessing on those “who have not seen” encourages believers down through the ages.