From the Pastor – April 19, 2020

Daily short prayersJesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”

Then he said to Thomas, “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 answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” (Jn 21-26-29)

We call him “Doubting Thomas,” but the words spoken by Thomas after he touched the hands and side of Jesus are the most important of John’s Gospel because they form a literary “inclusion” with the very first words of the Gospel.  In John 1:1 we read: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  And then that Word was made flesh in the person of Jesus Christ.  And Thomas identifies Jesus as the “Word Made Flesh” after the Resurrection.  And he finalizes John’s Gospel with his own punctuation mark: “My Lord and my God!”

While Jesus “gently” chides Thomas for his unbelief, He also gives a special benediction to us: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”  We are those who are blessed because we believe in Jesus Christ without having touched His pierced hands or side.

Over the course of this past year, three of our parishioners have been added to that list of blessed.  Through the RCIA program they have experienced God’s grace working in their lives, and they have responded to that grace by gathering weekly to learn more and more of what the Church teaches about Jesus Christ.  And although they have not seen His resurrected body, they believe.  They believe in His divinity.  They believe in His life, death and resurrection.  They believe in His Church.  And they believe in His Sacraments.  And now that those three were brought into the Church at the Easter Vigil last weekend, they actually do touch Him when they receive Him in Holy Communion.  Blessed are they!

But the last words of the Gospel passage today aren’t the absolute last words of John’s Gospel.  The last words are: “There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.”  This might fill us with wonder of the other miracles of Jesus that aren’t contained in the Gospel.  But there’s a simpler answer.  The reason that the world can’t contain the books is that the books are still being written.  They’re being written about the things Jesus has done in the lives of three people over this past Easter week.  And they’ve yet to be written about those who might experience the “things that Jesus might do” next year.  And the year after that.  And the year after that.  Blessed are we who believe.  Blessed are we about whom those books are being written.

Rev. Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty