Saint Thomas’ Sunday
“Put your finger here and see my hands and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and My God!” (John 20:27)
It was the first day of the week. It was evening. The disciples remained behind closed doors “for fear of the Jews.” The Risen Lord appeared to them, saying: “Peace be with you. The Apostles were there together except for one, Thomas.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples* were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” The Apostles were behind closed doors except for Thomas. It is interesting to note that for whatever the reason Thomas was not behind closed doors as the others and was not afraid to do so.
Upon Thomas’ return, the other Apostles relay to him their account of the Risen Lord in their very midst. Thomas is skeptical and wants empirical proof: “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (v.25)
During the first visit of the Risen Lord to the Apostles, Jesus brought them the message of Peace. The Lord greets them: “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.” (v.21) The Risen Lord breathes upon them, saying: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” He then gives the Apostles the power to forgive or retain sin.
A week after the first visit of the Risen Lord, Jesus comes to them a second time. This time all the Apostles, including Thomas, were present. Appearing to them once again behind closed doors, Jesus stood in their midst and greets them: “Peace be with you.” (v.26) Jesus then addresses Thomas who was not present the first time and was quite skeptical: “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side…“ Our Lord then concludes with this admonition: “Do not be unbelieving, but believe.” (v.27)
Thomas now recognizes it’s the Lord and exclaims: “My Lord and My God.” (v.28) The Lord acknowledges this apparent change in Thomas who had come to believe because he got his empirical proof – Thomas had seen for himself. Our Lord then has a message for all of us: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed,” (v. 29)
We, authentic Christians, believe that Christ truly exists and is present in our midst. This belief in the Risen Lord, in the Resurrection, is based upon the empty tomb and the appearances of the Risen Lord among His disciples. Our Christian Faith is based upon this testimony as recorded in Sacred Scriptures and in Sacred Tradition of the Church.
CHRIST IS RISEN! INDEED HE IS RISEN!
Rev. D. George Worschak