· Vatican City ·

Second Sunday of Easter: 7 April

My Lord and my God!

 My Lord and my God!  ING-014
05 April 2024

This profound profession of faith by the Apostle Thomas is of extraordinary and luminous beauty. Certainly the fruit of the interior action of the Holy Spirit, it just poured out from the heart of Thomas and surfaced on his lips. After days of confusion and hard internal battle, he was faced with and responded to frankness and honesty.

The Apostle Thomas has always stood out in his dialogues with Jesus, reported in the Gospel according to John, for his passion and the immediacy of speaking about His Lord and Master. He was never afraid to openly express the feelings and perplexities that lived deep within his heart, even at the cost of “making a bad impression” in the eyes of others and perhaps of Jesus Himself.

The humility of looking honestly, almost in a somewhat disenchanted fashion, at the concreteness of life, the movements of the heart and the efforts of human reason certainly subjected Thomas to harsh moments of restlessness and a lacerating interior spiritual battle, but it also opened him up to receiving answers not obvious and banal and to welcome a revelation so solid as to give unshakeable consistency to his faith.

We ourselves use the disbelief experienced by Thomas in phrases such as “O you doubting Thomas”. Whatever we may think, on Easter evening, Jesus appeared alive to the Disciples gathered in the Cenacle, showing them the wounds of His passion, imprinted on His resurrected body.

During that extraordinary meeting, Jesus gave the nascent Church Peace, the great Easter gift, obtained at a high price with His death on the Cross, and then poured out the Holy Spirit so that the Disciples were able to spread that same peace precisely by forgiving sins, which generate the most dramatic and deadly of wars and defeats, the loss of communion with God. But Thomas was absent.

So it is that upon returning home, he cannot believe his friends’ account of what happened in the Upper Room and makes a request that at the same time is so human but so sad: he wants to see and touch the wounds on Jesus’ body. Exactly those wounds that Jesus had shown to the others, those wounds that now definitively mark His identity recognizable in His new condition as a resurrected man.

They are the wounds of authentic Love, of the greatest vicarious love, that of One who gave His life for His friends.

Jesus listens to Thomas’ request. Jesus also shows Thomas His wounds, from which His blood, for our salvation, freely flowed, and invites Him to move from disbelief to faith. Thomas’ disbelief did us a great service: he went through the battle of faith before us and for us. Now, on the basis of the experience of the disciples who saw the Risen One, we too are called to trust their announcement, the announcement of eyewitnesses, who established their credibility through the supreme gift of life, in martyrdom.

Martyrdom is possible only if you truly believe in the power of the Resurrection, only if you have lived a transforming experience of communion with the risen and living Jesus, only by imitating His supreme sacrifice and because you are nourished by His grace.

Thomas emerged from his disbelief and manifested his faith: “My Lord and my God”. Because faith is like this: it brings us out of ourselves and makes us experience a strong belonging to the Lord. It is a mutual donation. It is a mutual belonging. It is profound, radical, joyful Communion.

Popular piety instinctively and intuitively often repeats Thomas’ beautiful profession of faith before the consecrated Host and the Chalice of the Blood of Christ, when they are presented for the adoration of the faithful.

Every time a Christian, with sincerity states “My Lord and my God” before the Blessed Sacrament, the same dialogue, as it took place that evening in the Cenacle, is renewed; the transition from disbelief to faith requested by Jesus is achieved.

We willingly enter our churches, which guard our greatest treasure, the presence of Jesus in the tabernacle, hidden before our very eyes and, on our bended knees, before the Eucharistic King we too repeat without tiring and with grateful hearts: “My Lord and my God!

*  Custody of the Holy Land

By Fr Luke Gregory ofm*