CYCLE II: HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 13TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: You are no longer strangers but citizen with the saints and the apostles.
BY: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
HOMILY: FEAST OF ST THOMAS (APOSTLE)
READINGS: Ephesians 2: 19-22, Ps. 117, John 20: 24-29
A citizen is a bonafide member of a place who has inalienable right to live in that nation or place. He is not treated as a sojourner or a stranger who has come to participate or reside in that place for a limited period of time with limited rights and privileges. A Christian by his baptism and fellowship with Jesus and his Church is no more a stranger in the household of God but privileged to belong with the saints and the apostles as members of his household. It is obedience to God and keeping of his commandments that include us in his household. This was why the book of Hebrews called us citizen of heaven; children of the house of the Lord. This same book made us know when addressing the ordeal of the people of Israel in the Old Testament at Mount Horeb, compared their experience with ours and said: What you have come to is mount Zion the city of the living God where millions of angels are gathered and each is a citizen and first born son. It is not like that place that they cried that no more should be heard when it turned to total darkness. By covenant and obedience to its terms we become citizens of heaven and children of the house of the Lord. The apostles are the foundation stone of this place. They are made so by their witnessing and total allegiance to the will of God. They were fellow workers in the vineyard of the Lord who planted the seed of faith and spread it everywhere and most of them wore the martyr’s crown like St Thomas whose feast we celebrate today.
Beloved, St Thomas was one of the apostles of Christ Jesus who was called and who did his own part in the ministry of Christ. Not much is recorded in the history of the Church about him but is said to have preached and spread the gospel of Christ in India. He was known so much in what we may call the faith of the Christians in Easter where he took the doubt of the faithful like us who were not present to witness the death and resurrection of Christ. His doubt helped Jesus to re-proof his resurrection and explain the signs that he was not a phantom or a kind of spirit that appeared but the real Jesus with the issues of showing his pierced side, his holes in the hands and feet made by the nails. Here Thomas led us in professing the faith of the Church in his statement: My Lord and my God; meaning I believe now that it is you my Lord and my God who was crucified for our sake. A convincing faith and proof such as his calls us to believe not only on the evidence of eye witness account but to believe the teachings of the apostles who witnessed it as recorded in the scriptures: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe”
Beloved, the celebration of this feast reminds us that we are called to participate in the life of Christ like the apostles and to profess the same faith they did in order to join them in belonging to the household of God as citizens not strangers. We are royal priests and that is what St Peter reminded us that we are consecrated people, set apart ones who have the duty to sing the praises of God who has brought us out of darkness into his wonderful light in his kingdom. We pray that we may with the faith we received from the apostles go into the world wherever we are and proclaim the good news and sing the praise of God, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf