SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER
(White) Cycle A/Year I (April 23, 2017)
Acts 2:42-47/1 Pt 1:3-9/Jn 20:19-31
Well known is the story in the gospel of this Sunday about the Apostle Thomas who has become the first skeptic in terms of faith in Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Thomas is a natural doubter not because he never believes but because in order for him to believe, he needs to understand it first. It seems that he is a very practical man in the modern sense of the word as well as a very reflective person. It also seems that he lives the modern pragmatic principle which says “To see is to believe” when he emphatically declares: “Unless I can see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe” (Jn 20:25b). But Thomas is not like that. Thomas is simply a slow to believe yet quick to judge; he is slow to be convinced yet quick to commit himself. He is a deep thinker and an honest person.
Indeed, it is difficult to believe especially when we give excessive importance to our thinking. This is why in faith we do not rely much on reason but rather on the authority of the ones who transmit to us the articles of faith. And in this consists one of the faults of Thomas: He does not believe the testimony of the other apostles. There are some of us who, like Thomas, do not believe not only the testimony of the apostles but also their teachings and the teachings of Christ’s Catholic Church. They do not believe at least in the practical sense of the word the real and substantial presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Blessed Eucharist, the Sacrament of Confession and even the vital importance of being a committed member of Christ’s Roman Catholic Church.
Some find it easy to do and to carry it in their conscience the change of religion or church especially for those who work abroad and those who want to have many legal spouses. They do this as simple as changing their profession. God and religion are being devoid of their proper and fundamental importance and have become the last priorities in their lives. Worse still, they make use of them to further their personal and selfish agenda. Thomas has not gone as far as this. Thomas is simply a doubter who searches reasons for his belief.
The other fault of Thomas is that He shies away from the group upon learning about the death of his Master, Jesus Christ. As a reflective and perhaps introvert person, Thomas seeks solitude to overcome the pains of the traumatic event, to rationally accept it and to cure his wounded unsuccessful expectation of Jesus. Like Thomas, many of us have the tendency to shy away from our group when we encounter problems. And this is particularly true with regards to our relationship with God and His Church. Those whose prayers have not been answered according to their desires, those whose lives have been constantly struck with misfortunes, and those who feel abandoned by God are the most vulnerable to draw back from the parish community by becoming inactive in it. If we are one of these at this very moment, let us remember that drawing back from a group especially from our Christian community does not help in solving our problem but is rather making it worse. The Church is where Christ is and Christ is our hope as He is our Lord and Savior. He is constantly and precisely there to help us face our problems in life. Let us never ever detach ourselves from the Church especially when we are in need of help and guidance.
In this Easter season, all of us Christians are supposed to have the strength of the grace of the risen Lord. If until now we are still weak in our faith because of our doubts and sins, the gospel calls us to be converted like Thomas. We must ask enlightenment and guidance from our Catholic Church and in particular from her pastors. The teachings of Christ and of His Apostles are contained and explained in the teachings of the Church. Let us listen to such teachings and verify our faith in the history of the saints and the Church. With these, we can regain our faith and, with the apostle Thomas, shout with our whole conviction regarding Jesus Christ: “My Lord and my God!”