St Thomas Sunday

To-day we are keeping the day of St Thomas the Apostle. Too often we remember him only as a doubter; indeed he is the one who questioned the message which the other Apostles brought to him when they said: Christ is risen! We have seen Him alive!

But he is not one who doubted throughout his life or who remained unfaithful to the fullness of the divine revelation of Christ. We must remember that when the Apostles and the Lord heard of the illness of Lazarus, Christ said to them: Let us return to Jerusalem. To which the others said: But the Jews wanted to kill you there. Why should we return? Only Thomas the Apostle answered: Let us go with Him and die with Him. He was prepared not only to be His disciple in words, not only to follow Him as one follows a teacher, but to die with Him as one dies with a friend and, if necessary, for a friend. So, let us remember his greatness, his faithfulness, his wholeness.

But what happened then when after the Resurrection of Christ, the Apostles said to the one who had not seen Christ risen, that they had actually seen the risen Christ? Why did he not accept their message? Why did he doubt? Why did he say that he must have proofs, material proofs? Because when he looked at them, he saw them rejoicing in what they had seen, rejoicing that Christ was not dead, rejoicing that Christ was alive, rejoicing that victory had been won. Yet, when he looked at them he saw no difference in them.. These were the same men, only full of joy instead of fear. And Thomas said: Unless I see, unless I probe the Resurrection, I cannot believe you.

Is it not the same thing that anyone can say to us who meets us?

We proclaimed the Resurrection of Christ, passionately, sincerely, truthfully, a few days ago. We believe in it with all our being; and yet, when people meet us in our homes, in the street, in our place of work, anywhere, do they look at us and say: Who are these people? What has happened to them?

The Apostles had seen Christ risen, but the Resurrection had not become part of their own experience. They had not come out of death into eternal life. So it is also with us; except with the saints, when they see them, they know that their message is true.

What is it in our message that is not heard? Because we speak, but are not. We should be so different from people who have no experience of the living Christ, risen, who has shared His life with us, who sent the Holy Spirit to us as, in the words of C.S. Lewis, a living person is different from a statue. A statue may be beautiful, magnificent, glorious, but it is stone. A human being can be much less moving in his outer presence, yet he is alive, he is a testimony of life.

So let us examine ourselves. Let us ask ourselves where we are. Why is it that people who meet us never notice that we are limbs of the risen Christ, temples of the Holy Spirit? Why?

Each of us has got to give his own reply to this question. Let us, each of us, examine ourselves and be ready to answer before our own conscience and do what is necessary to change our lives in such away that people meeting us may look at us and say: Such people we have never seen. There is something about them that we have never seen in anyone. What is it? And we could answer: It is the life of Christ abroad in us. We are His limbs. This is the life of the Spirit in us. We are His temple. Amen.
April 30,1995

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