“The other disciples therefore said to him, We have seen the Lord.’ So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe’ » (John 20:25).
When we were being given our first classes before being allowed to work with patients, the professors reminded us of the importance of not touching them with cold hands, and to be careful that any instruments we used, such as a stethoscope, was not too cold, either, teaching a great deal about sensitivity, about the reaction of the skin—and of the whole body—to different temperatures and different stimuli. Later we learned more about these reactions, what causes them, and what to do about them. But first we had to learn what was basic: our skin is sensitive.
But what does this story have to do with the heading of today’s reflection and the Bible verse that goes with it?
Once I read the story of a physician who carried with him a hot water bottle hidden in his clothing. That way he could allows be sure he could have warm hands when he had to examine his patients. He could learn many things about the patient thanks to the fact that he didn’t start up a series of unexpected, undesirable reactions with the touch of his cold hands on their skin. His hands would be in harmony with the body temperature of the patient.
We have talked about the importance of adapting, and although the Bible tells us in several places not to adapt or conform to this world, it also reminds us that while we are not of this world, we are still in it.
Without thinking we are better than others because we know certain things, just as a doctor is not better than his patient just because he knows how to treat his disease, we could practice a little more that idea of carrying a «hot water bottle» with us, to reach people more easily.
Thomas was a person who received much of his information through his senses, besides any lack of faith he may have had.
There are many people around us who ask for or need information to be presented to them in a different way than others.
Today we could ask God to help us perceive these things, which might otherwise be imperceptible to us unless we approach people the right way. We can ask Him to give us wisdom to treat people we come into contact with the best possible way, with no need to lose our own identity.
The Great Physician can give us a Master Class in reaching out to others.