2nd Sunday of Easter, Year C (2022): Jn 20:19-31
Sunday, April 24, 2022
Homily Notes for the 2nd Sunday of Easter, Year C: Jn 20:19-31
· Based on the testimony of the New Testament, we know that the 12 Apostles would eventually journey throughout much of the known Roman Empire to proclaim the Good News that Jesus had risen from the dead and eternal life is given to those who are baptized and follow him.
· Places in the ancient world that were visited by them are now known as Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Italy and Spain. The vast roadways that connected the Roman Empire allowed the Apostles to bring the Gospel beyond the Holy Land and with remarkable success began to transform the Roman world from within as an empire that was far from God and human dignity to one that would seek to build Christ’s kingdom now and into eternity.
· But there are other traditions that abound about the Apostles that suggest they brought the Gospel beyond those places mentioned in the New Testament. Countries such Armenia, Egypt, Ethiopia and parts of Arabia to name a few were said to be visited by the Apostles, with the greatest apostolic journey belonging to St. Thomas who is said to have brought the Gospel all the way to India, and planted the seeds of the Good News that would over the next 2000 years slowly grow and sustain those Indian Christians who rightly claim their spiritual ancestry to the Apostles whom we most associate with Doubting the Resurrection.
· I think there is something very beautiful that St Thomas would be the one to bring the Gospel further than any of the other 12.
· Many of the Church Fathers suggested that Jesus intended for St Thomas to not be present when he would first appear to the other apostles. This was so that Jesus could appear to St Thomas directly and invite him to touch his Sacred Wounds that were required by the bold apostle as proof of the Lord’s Resurrection but with the challenge to St Thomas, who so beautifully declared in that moment that Jesus was His Lord and His God, a statement of faith that none of the other Apostles had yet uttered up to that point, that there would be far greater blessings given to those who did not see Jesus but believed that He had risen in glory.
· These would be the two great gifts that St Thomas would bring in his missionary journeys. The first was to share with others that Jesus was not just some great teacher, champion of social justice or miracle worker, but that He was Lord and God, not just one god among many, but the only Lord of whom one would experience unconditional love and mercy that no other higher power had ever offered to humanity.
· Many to this day when the Sacred Host is elevated say silently My Lord and My God as the Body of Christ comes to be among us, words that St. Thomas gave as a gift to the Church to help us express our joy that Christ reigns!
· The second gift would be his challenge to those who would not see Jesus in the Flesh as he did, who would not stare in amazement at the resurrected one who still bore the deep riven wounds of the Passion on his body, that they be compelled to ask for the gift of faith to believe without seeing that this Jesus is the saviour of the world and most tremendous of all lovers.
· St Thomas would bring that message to all he meet and driven by that conviction that this is the most important message of all time would see him end his life as a martyr in India but whose sacrifice would not be vain as the grain of wheat of his life fell into the earth and died that it would bear the fruits of new Christians in India and elsewhere who remain inspired by the audacity of St Thomas to want to touch the wounds of Christ and who so beautifully declared him truly to be Lord of all creation and God!
· Yes, we remember St Thomas for his doubts, but far greater were his words of adoration for Christ and his witness to help those who did not see the Lord to believe in Him as the way to eternal life.
· May St Thomas sustain us in times of doubt, teach us to not hold back in proclaiming our love and adoration for Christ and be strengthened in those times when not being able to see Christ makes it hard to believe but all the more rewarding to believe when proof is not readily at hand…