One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

July 02, 2006

For the Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle, 3 July A.D. 2006

John 20:24-29

All four Gospels— Matthew, Mark, Luke and John— testify to the resurrection of Jesus.
However, the first direct quotation of any particular, named apostle after the resurrection comes not as words of FAITH, but the words of St. Thomas refusing to believe.
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,

The second direct quotation of any particular, named apostle after the resurrection comes a week after the resurrection and also belongs to St. Thomas.
My Lord and MY GOD!

Out of the mouth of Thomas comes the climax of the whole Gospel.
At the very beginning of the Holy Gospel according to John we find the following testimony:
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the WORD WAS GOD.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
full of grace and truth.

Throughout the Gospel we hear persons call Jesus “sir” or “Lord”.
We hear them call him “the Christ”, “the Messiah”, “the Anointed One”.
We hear persons call Jesus, “Son of God”; but that was also a symbolic title given to the kings of Israel.
We hear Jesus call God his Father, and even refer to himself as “the Son of God”, even doing so with language that implied equality with God.
There were those who attempted to stone Jesus to death for making claims to divinity.
Indeed, they eventually crucified him for it.
No one had ever yet made the explicit profession of full faith, “I believe you are God”.
Today, Thomas is the first person in the Gospel to do exactly that.
Today, upon seeing the proof of the deadly wounds in the body of the living, risen Jesus, Thomas does not limit himself to saying, “Now I believe you are Jesus, and that you have risen from the dead”.
Rather, Thomas goes beyond anyone else in the Gospel by saying, “My Lord and MY GOD!”
Thomas is the last apostle to see the risen Lord Jesus— the last of them to believe the resurrection— which they all doubted at first.
However, Thomas is the FIRST person in the Gospels to dare call Jesus “GOD” plainly and simply.
My Lord and MY GOD!

It is an irony that the wounds of DEATH have proven the identity of the LIVING GOD for Thomas.
That is an irony and also a scandal.
That true God was born a true man is a scandal that many in the past and today have refused to believe.
That God died a human death as a criminal is an even worse scandal rejected by perhaps even more.
And that Jesus was true God and died on the cross and truly rose bodily from the dead is a further scandal rejected by at least just as many if not more again.
Here at the altar of the Eucharist is another scandal identical with the three just mentioned.
By the will of the Father and the Son, by the words of the Son and by the power of the Spirit, bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ:
the Body and Blood born at Bethlehem;
the Body and Blood offered on the Cross for us as the new and everlasting covenant so that sins may be forgiven;
the Body and Blood risen from the dead and shown to the apostles;
the risen Body and Blood which Thomas probed with his own hands.

Through the apostles the Lord our God has given these scandals to his Church, and we continue to proclaim them through the Gospel and the Eucharist, preaching Christ crucified and risen, demanding of ourselves and summoning the world to confess, “You are the Lord! You are God!”
Together with the apostles Thomas, Peter, John and the rest, it is ours to proclaim of Jesus [1 Jn. 1:1-4]:
That which was from the beginning,
which we have heard,
which we have LOOKED upon and TOUCHED WITH OUR HANDS,
concerning the word of life—
the life was made manifest,
and we saw it,
and testify to it,
and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—
that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you,
so that you may have communion with us;
and our communion is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

- - - -

On my other blog I have posted a detail of Caravaggio's painting of St. Thomas sticking his finger into the wound in the side of the risen Christ.

Click HERE for it.
That God Be Glorified in All


Anonymous Konkani Catholics said...

Nice homily on the Apostle!

He is highly venerated among the indigenous rites in India.

We've dedicated a post to him.

Feast of St. Thomas - Apostle to India

11:59 PM  

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