Photo: Pope Francis says Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle Church near Rome
In the Gospel, Thomas gets a bum rap. We all know the story. Thomas is away and upon his return the disciples report to him that Jesus who had been crucified a few days before had come to visit them. Thomas does not believe them. From then on he has been known as Doubting Thomas. He really should be called Honest Thomas. His reaction to the tale of the disciples was quite natural. Thomas was honest about the fact that it was hard to believe that his dead friend had really risen from the dead. Later on he his honest again. Thomas is there when Jesus makes a return visit and proclaims the honest truth about Jesus as he says, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:19-31).
We like to imagine that we would be different from Thomas. Surely, if Jesus walked into our living room we would recognize him. Really? It is much more probable that if someone walked into our house and said, “Hello, I am Jesus”, we would call the police certain that a crazy intruder had somehow gotten past the front door.
The fact is, Jesus walks into the rooms of our lives every day. He says things like, “Stop that behavior, calm down, I forgive you, you have done a great job, know how much I love you”. Into the rooms of our lives he walks as our mom, dad, husband, wife, brother, sister, or friend. He says, “Help me, I need you, forgive me, I’m glad you are around, thank you”. Let’s be honest. Even though Jesus speaks to us through the people in our lives, sometimes we do not recognize his presence or listen to his words.
Every time we go to Mass, Jesus walks into the church through each other, through the Scriptures and through the Eucharist. In an ancient custom of recognition, as the host and chalice are elevated after the consecration, some quietly proclaim the words of Thomas, “My Lord and my God!” Having recognized the presence of Jesus at Mass, we are beckoned to walk back out of the church and recognize him as he walks into the rooms of our lives. Thank God for Honest Thomas. Everyday, as Jesus walks into the rooms of our lives we get to proclaim with him, “My Lord and my God!”
Together in faith,
Fr. Tuyen Nguyen, Vice-Rector Fr. Christopher Smith, Rector