YEAR A: HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY OF THE 13TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME. FEAST OF ST THOMAS, APOSTLE AND MARTYR,
HOMILY THEME: Be an apostle by leaving a good footprint.
BY: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, CMF
HOMILY: READINGS: Eph. 2:19-22, PS. John. 20:24-29
The Holy Mother Church celebrates the feast of one of her apostles St Thomas. He too was from Galilee and normally called the twin. He is known foremost as the apostle of doubt and purportedly of no strong faith. Some extra-biblical source has it that he ministered in India and some tribes in India (the Kerala) are called the Christians of St Thomas. The portion of today’s gospel presents the episode of post-resurrection appearance of Jesus in the absence of Thomas where he came and refused to believe that Jesus had risen and appeared to the other ten apostles. His disbelief was so vehement and pronounced that he gave the condition of belief as seeing and touching important parts of Jesus that would show that he was truly the one risen.
Beloved, it is important to look at the apostleship of St Thomas in this gospel periscope presented today. Looking at Thomas as an apostle who worked and believed Jesus teaching during his apprenticeship of three and half years, one would wonder if he really doubted the resurrection of Jesus. Was it that he did not hear Jesus saying that the Son of Man shall suffer and die and rise on the third day or that he never believed it? Did he not as a typical traditional Jew trained in the oratory of proverbs and parables understand Jesus proverbial saying: Destroy this temple and in three days I will rebuild it? It is better understood from the point of joyful reception of an almost impossible event made possible and speaking as if not believing. The event of the revisit and reappearance of Jesus before him proved that rather than being unfaithful and doubting was truly a man of ardent proclaimed faith. Can it not be said that he is like the disciple (Nathaniel)Jesus said is an Israelite incapable of deceit? Can he not be seen as a man who makes assurances double sure? He obviously is not a man you can easily deceive but tried to establish the basis of his faith and doctrine; a man who takes nothing by mere chance. His seeing Jesus and making an unprecedented profession of faith is praise worthy and worthy of emulation. The exclamation: My Lord and my God was not just an oral proclamation but a propounding and deepening of the faith received which the other apostles who were said to have believed did not know. He was the one who taught us that Jesus Christ is both Lord, man and God. His christology is unrivalled. He taught us that the second person of the Trinity is truly God. We must thank Thomas for making the doubts of future generations as to the veracity of Jesus resurrection and not an appearance of a phantom and a debunking of the Jews’ doubt and saying that he did not rise but stolen by the apostles. He spoke on behalf of us who never saw but are to believe. His doubt was an opportunity for Jesus to teach us that matters of faith must not be empirically verified. The important marks of identification of Jesus the crucified was made clear: the holes made by the nails, and the pierced side. These he requested as a proof of the reality of the man Jesus who was crucified. Thomas was not well understood yet in his unique manner made a deep impression in our faith leaving a good footprint. His being absent at the first appearance of Jesus to the ten was not by coincidence or mistake but by divine plan. The disciples who for fear were locked up, what could have been the reason of his courageous outing and where must he have gone? Certain things in other people’s life are not and cannot be known except God. Certain things we condemn and judge wrong may after all have positive implication and teaching. Little wonder Jesus asked us not to judge that we may not be judged. The real vocation and how of it and its distinguishing trait can only be known by God.
Beloved, it is important at each time to align ourselves with Christ and realize in all circumstances that we are part of God’s building and fellow citizens with the apostles by our faith proclamation and Christian life pattern. Let us strive to leave positive foot prints. If Thomas doubt was evil and faulted by Jesus we would not be celebrating him today. Whether understood by many or not let us maintain our unique vocation and leave good impression behind.
May we go out into our world and proclaim the good news of Christ.
May we announce Christ to the whole world and make our faith strong and unshakable, a faith firm as the rock that is knowledgeable and above deceit, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, CMF