Eph 2:19-22; Ps 117:1-2; Jn 20:24-29
Every Sunday in the Creed we call ourselves, one, holy, catholic and apostolic. Such a powerful self-awareness is so often lost in the day-to-day living out of the mystery we call Church. On the feasts of the Apostles, we are once again summoned to affirm and embrace our apostolic identity. What does it mean to be apostolic? At the very end of his gospel Saint Mark remembers the commission of the Lord Jesus, “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.” We are apostolic because we are sent, and we are sent because we have truly good news for the whole world. That good news echoes in our hearts every time we gaze upon the Body and Blood of Christ and joint the Apostle Thomas in praying, “My Lord and my God.” Indeed, the good news we bear is the good news that we become in communion with the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ. As a successor of the apostles, Saint Augustine, has taught us, when we eat any other kind of food that food becomes us, but when we eat the Body and Blood of Christ we become what we eat. The one we consume consumes us. Indeed, we are more like Christ than we are like ourselves. Our true identity is hidden with Christ in God. As we are sent out from every Eucharist we are sent to give apostolic witness: “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!” By what we say and do everyday, we reveal to all the nations that the LORD is here with us, and we are transformed by his steadfast kindness and tender fidelity. This divine love is at the center of our lives today, and it is the bright glory of our future. Christ Our God wants all men and women to share in the splendor of truth and the beauty of his love forever. This is truly good news for every nation all through history until the consummation to the ages and the end of the world as we know it. For the world as we know it is not totally transparent to the mystery of the Kingdom or the splendor of the Church. Indeed, it is the witness of the blood of the apostles in every age that is startling and constant before a harsh and violent world.
The Apostle Paul cries our to this brothers and sisters in every age to recognize our true dignity in the Body of Christ. Like Saint Thomas and the entire apostolic band we must summon all men and women to Christ. This is our apostolic identity. Indeed, we are no longer strangers and sojourners. We are fellow citizens of the heavenly Kingdom. We stand before the throne of God and of the Lamb along with all the Apostles and prophets. Indeed, we are at home and familiar with the saints in glory and we have a permanent home with these holy ones. We are not just passing guests in the court of heaven. Christ Jesus himself is the capstone of our lives. He is the very one who holds us together and binds us into one organic whole. Our very life is in the LORD; outside of Christ we have no life. Cut off from Christ, we are dead and dried up branches fit for the fire. Through Him, with Him, and in Him, we are growing into a temple sacred to the Lord. In Christ we are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Indeed, it is the very mystery of the Trinity that shines through the splendor of the Church at this time in history and forever in the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the message of today’s celebration, and this is the good news we have to offer all who are lost and in the shadow of death.
Perhaps Saint Thomas had to struggle with the good news so that we could hear the good news. Perhaps, we never would have had the blessing upon us that we hear after Thomas received his blessing. “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Indeed, it is the gift of faith that enabled Saint Thomas to see what no man can see—my Lord and my God. No human eyes alone can behold the face of God in Christ. It takes faith that alone can expand our vision beyond its natural capacity to behold in faith the revelation of God in the flesh and blood of the Lord Jesus, crucified and raised. The Lord Jesus blessed his disciple Thomas and in this blessing he became an apostle. Before one can be sent out with the good news, one must taste and see that the Lord is good. Before Saint Thomas was ready for his blessing and commission, he had to spend a week waiting for the Lord to come through the locked doors. Indeed, we lock the doors out of fear that someone would take advantage of our weakness and vulnerability. We have been disappointed and we feel abandoned just like the apostles. Disappointed that we did not have enough courage and faith to stand at the foot of the cross with the beloved and his mother. Abandoned by the teacher who had promised to remain with us and had proclaimed that we need not fear, anyone or anything. This Lord Jesus was executed in public before the scorn and mockery of the leaders. This Lord Jesus was absent for a whole week while many had given witness and proclaimed his resurrection. It is impossible to believe. Indeed, without faith no one could see him come through locked doors and breathe, “peace”. Just as the Apostle Thomas doubted, even longer and more intensely have we doubted. Just as the Apostle Thomas believed because he saw, we believe without seeing. Only with eyes of faith can we see and cry out, “My Lord and my God!”