With this appearance of our Lord, we witness the manifestation of another dimension of infinite divine love. I would like to share with you four thoughts derived from our reading.
First. Jesus the Prince of Peace, always brings peace, as heralded by the Angels on His day of Nativity. When the Apostles were terrified on the Sea of Galilea, when the Apostles’ hearts were in tribulation because of the uncertainty upon the referral of Jesus to His Betrayal (Jn 16:33), when Thomas doubted of His Resurrection —in all cases Jesus addressed to them first with Peace.
Jesus, the Tranquillizer, par excellence, of all ages, will bring peace in our souls, minds, hearts, as well to our bodies, when we submit our worries to Him, as He said, “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). And St. Paul, echoing His Master’s voice, says, “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7).
Second. Jesus Christ, as the second person of the Triune God, never yields to any challenge raised either by principalities or any of His Creation. He doesn’t defeat by power, but in Humility, in Love. As such, He didn’t neglect the abominable challenge of His beloved one, but rather with an incredible humbleness visited the stumbled Apostle.
Third. There is no doubt that Thomas, as a modern empiricist, was sincere and very anxious in his goal to verify Truth by fact and not to be driven by fiction or hearsays. Yet his behavior surpasses the limits of awkwardness. He was not satisfied with seeing only the Risen Lord, to believe in His Resurrection, as was the case with the others, but blinded by his spirit of refusal, after seeing the Risen Lord with His wounds, but in addition to it he placed his finger not only in the mark of the nails but as well in his side. Upon the appearance of Jesus and encouraging him to come forward to place his finger in the marks, the abashed Apostle, unable to take even one step forward, proclaims the Lordship and Divinity of Jesus Christ.
Four. While enjoying this privileged visit of his Lord, Thomas has lost an unparalleled beatitude, for Jesus said, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed.”
Dear fellow brothers and sisters, this historical event is indeed one of the most powerful passages of the Scriptures, which transcends time and space and belongs to all generations of mankind, until the full establishment of the Kingdom of God.
Hence, I would like to draw four messages from this awesome experience of St. Thomas:
1) Christ is the source of peace and serenity for all ages. He is the prescription, par excellence, for all those who are going through physical, emotional, behavioral, mental and spiritual disorders. He is ready to provide unconditionally His care as soon as we ask it.
2) Jesus Christ, the Good Rabbi, never yields to challenges. He is ready to provide truth and only Truth. When He was challenged by Satan, by the Pharisees, by the secular Authorities and even by His Apostles, He humbly took them into consideration and tried to illuminate them by providing the necessary information and facts.
3) God as sovereign source of universal wisdom and knowledge adorned Mankind with rationality. By all means He expects us to use it to full capacity. Yet He has endowed us with faith and doesn’t wish to leave it idle and to be deprived of His Grace.
4) The Blessings of those who believe is far beyond from those who believe after seeing. Actually, the community of science knows more than a simple person that the things which exist, and we don’t see them are far more than the things we see. I believe that there is no clash between science and religion or faith: in different ways, they strive to reach and enjoy Truth. Hence they are complementary to each other. Therefore, while using our intellectual gifts, let us not deprive ourselves from the blessings of faith.
In the midst of a global pandemic caused by the coronavirus, mankind, including Christians, are all horrified. Let us not forget that our Christian faith, planted by the Almighty Lord, irrigated by the sacred blood of Christ, sprouted in time of total frustration, has survived centuries of agonizing fear, hopelessness and uncertainty. I am aware that our souls are afflicted, our hearts are broken, our minds are perplexed to the extent of losing our faith anchored in Risen Lord, to see the power of faith over fear, and to disperse the darkness of doubt. Yet on this New Sunday, which derives its newness from the ever-victorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the same way that the moon gets its light from the sun, let us all renew ourselves, in the promise of the Risen One, who promised to His Disciples, “I am with you always, to the end of the ages”(Mt 28:19).
Yes my dear brothers and sisters, God is not remote, He is with us and, invisibly, is working through the heroic sacrifice of doctors, nurses and health communities, through public servants who are providing our necessities while we are safely distancing ourselves in our homes as well as through the community of science which, supported by different government agencies, are in their mission to discover the cure for this pandemic.
Let us with renewed faith unceasingly pray, be prudent and be patient. As Jesus promised, “Take courage; I have conquered the world” (Jn 16:33). Likewise, together we shall overcome this pandemic, renewed in our faith and hope and glorifying the Almighty Lord.