For this week’s homily, please play the video below:
For this week’s homily please watch the video below.
This is the Second Sunday of Easter. Notice we don’t say the Second Sunday after Easter. We say it’s the 2nd Sunday of Easter because Easter isn’t a one day feast. It’s celebrated every Sunday of the year. Every Sunday is a little Easter. After the yearly feast of Easter we continue to celebrate it for fifty days. Easter isn’t for one day.
Why do we celebrate Easter so extensively? Because the resurrection of Jesus is the center of our faith. It’s central to what we believe. We believe in God who created us and all things. We believe in Jesus Christ, who came among us, died and rose from the dead on the third day. That belief has tremendous consequences for us and for our world.
The resurrection of Jesus promises us a future. We’re promised life beyond this life in his resurrection. And God promises life to our world in the resurrection of his Son.
The story of Thomas the apostle in today’s gospel offers another reason why we celebrate easter as often as we do. Thomas was one of Jesus’ closest followers, “one of the twelve” who heard him teach and saw him work wonders, but Thomas won’t believe the others who tell him they saw Jesus, risen from death.
He’s deeply skeptical. You can hear skepticism in his words: “Unless I see the marks of the nails, and put my finger into the nailmarks, and put my hand into his side, I won’t believe.”
Certainly Thomas isn’t the only one who’s skeptical. You can hear skepticism in the way the other disciples after Jesus rises from the dead. Thomas represents human skepticism, the slowness of us all to believe, the distrust we all have. What’s unique about Thomas is he represents skepticism at its worst.
It’s all right to have some skepticism, you know. We shouldn’t believe everything we hear. We need to check things out. We have to make sure that facts are facts, we need a certain caution in life.
But Thomas’ skepticism seems more than the ordinary. He’s a strong doubter. Yet still, the next Sunday–notice it’s a Sunday–Jesus comes and says “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answer and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” That’s a beautiful act of faith.
What about us? We’re described in today’s gospel as “those who have not seen, but believe.” and Jesus called us blessed. Yet, we can relate to Thomas. In fact, we live today in skeptical times. We’re skeptical about politics, about our institutions, about our churches, about ourselves. There’s a deep distrust today in the way we speak and in the way we think. We’re wary of others, especially people different from us. It affects our faith too.
Yet, as he did to Thomas, Jesus never abandons us. He gives us the gift to believe. His mercy is always at work. He strengthens us when he comes in the signs of the Eucharist; he strengthens us through the faith we share with each other, week by week, day be day.
Our Sundays may not be the dramatic experience that Thomas had, but something happens here. Our Sundays are always little easters. Jesus come into the room where we are, with our fears and lack of trust. He tells us, as he told his disciples: “Peace be with you.” He shows us the signs of his love and enters our lives. Every Sunday is a happy Easter. Jesus gives us life.
Blessed are they who have not seen yet believed invites me to hope for the unseen fullness of life Christ promises to those who believe. How often a product ad is marketed to us with the words, “As seen on TV” which supposes that the TV ad can be believed. How needed is a filter to sort out what is true. BTW, the audio is much improved on your video…I can even hear the birds outside chirping in concert to praise God!
Thank you for teaching me something about my faith each time you post. How uplifting it was today to learn that each Sunday is an Easter Sunday. To know that each Sunday we can reaffirm our faith as at the Resurrection! And not only Sundays, but every day. Thank you, Father Victor, for sharing your tremendous Faith with us. You are a gift from God. Fabienne Danies
Dear Father Victor, thank you so much for your reflection. Father Alex, CP, also said in this week’s Passionate Pause that saint Thomas was not the only doubter. He said Jesus visited the apostles twice and they were behind locked doors, fearful. He goes on to say that Thomas asks two of the most important questions in Scripture: how do we get to God and where is God leading me? Thank you both for the richness and wisdom of your Reflections and as Father Alex, CP, stated: let us pray that the intensity of the Easter message continue to grow in us.
Thanks for you kind words, fdan.
Despite my locked door
Your Grace has still found me out.
My steel shield bears cracks.
My metal ego protects me
from all the hurts of the world.
Your light seeks me out.
Doubt gone away now,
Hope fills the empty place.
Mercy stands sentry at the door.
Your light surrounds me.
You shine both inwards and out.
Doors now wide open!
Peace be with you!