November 26, 2012: Thomas and the Wounded Side

~by Louis Templeman

The Apostle Thomas knew of the wound in the side of Christ. John and the women had told him. As Christ was depending from three iron spikes as he was being executed, a soldier punched his lance through the soft, flaccid flesh of his dead body to prove to the governor he was indeed dead. From this wound flowed a stream of not only blood but also of water. To Thomas, a powerful image.

Water could have called up memories to Thomas of Jesus’ baptism where he purified all waters for the initiation sacrament where our own sins are washed away and a soul becomes born again of water and of spirit. Water, he may have recalled, was also what Jesus used when he saved the wedding in Cana by making wine.

And, remembering wine could have led him to the memory of Jesus’ words over the chalice of wine at his last Passover with them where he said, “This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many” (Mark 14: 24).

This huge wound in the side of his Savior and Lord is what he thought of when he met with incredulity the strange news that the dead Jesus was alive. If Jesus were indeed alive he would have to see and touch this wound.

Thomas’s Jesus was a wounded man. Did the other men who had seen Jesus notice his wounds? Were they so excited upon seeing his face and hearing his voice they did not notice? It is possible he questioned them and was disappointed to hear none could affirm the resurrected Jesus bore the wounds of the Crucified One.

Thomas intuitively knew that if Jesus were indeed risen his scars would not be erased. His scars would remain.

Thomas’s doubt may have been the necessary thing to imprint on the heart of the faithful the wounds of Christ are ever visible and ever fresh. As fresh as the love that drove him to and through his passion.

As Jesus purified all waters by his baptism he also purified the heavens as he hung between heaven and earth. The heavens themselves became pure. No evil spirit could prevent the health, love and mercy of God from flowing. It would flow as lively and effortlessly as had the streams of his water and blood.

Thomas needed to touch this fountain of mercy. Thomas doubted that we may believe, that we too may come to this sacred heart. We may bring to Christ, to his wounded side, our doubts, our weakness, our darkness, our pain and end as Thomas did in crying in love and relief, “My Lord and my God.”

~Louis Templeman

Louis Templeman is the father of five adult daughters. He has an M. A. in Biblical Studies from Regent University in Virginia Beach. He has been a Foursquare pastor, a social worker, a house painter, and professional writer. He is an adult convert to the Catholic faith and is the editor of Take Root Devotions. He lives a quiet life with three affectionate cats – Flotsam, Jetsam, and DJ.

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