After Christ was raised from the dead He appeared to the Apostles. Since Thomas wasn’t present, he did not believe the witness of his fellow Apostles. Eight days later when Christ appeared to them again, this time with Thomas to see for himself. This time he believed. Christ gave to His Apostles everything they needed to believe in His Resurrection. He will give YOU everything you need to believe. All you need to do is be present in the Church to see and believe.
My brothers and sisters in the gospel this morning, we hear some very important elements of faith and belief and it centers around the reality of St. Thomas the Apostle. Unfortunately, he gets a bad rep. We all call Thomas, Doubting Thomas. I like to call him Faithful Thomas, because if you pay attention to the gospel that we read today, he had the same experience with Christ as the other disciples. Think about it for a moment. In all of the resurrection stories, all of the apostles had to see Jesus in order to believe. Remember, the women went to the tomb and they came back and they told the apostles and it says in the gospel, the apostles didn’t believe them. They had to go to the tomb themselves, but they didn’t see Christ there.
So why pick on Thomas? Poor guy. Well, he actually isn’t not just a man of faith, but a man of courage because it says in the beginning of the gospel that we just read that the apostles were gathered together in the room. And we know why they were there, because they were afraid. Remember, they were closed in and afraid because of what had taken place. It was the courageous women who left, and obviously it was the courageous Thomas who had enough courage to go out of the room, and so he wasn’t there when Jesus came the first time.
But God doesn’t leave Thomas abandoned. You see, my brothers and sisters, like the other disciples, Thomas had to see in order to believe. And so Christ gave to Thomas exactly what he needed. It says eight days later, Christ came back, and this time Thomas was there. And so Christ says to Thomas the same thing that he had said to the other disciples, “Look at my hands. Look at my feet. Touch me. I’m real. Believe in me.” You see, God gives us what we need in order to believe in him. For some people like Thomas and the Apostles, they need to see to believe. For some people it is miracles. For some people, it is signs in the heavens. For other people, like the overwhelming majority of us, it is the witness of the church.
None of us here was present alive 2023 years ago or so to see Christ walking the earth, and yet we believe. And this is why Christ says at the end of the gospel, “Thomas, you believe because you see. Blessed are those who believe and do not see.” He’s talking about us, but he gives each of us what we need. I was writing the other day in my blog about miracles. I meet many people who are begging God for miracles. God give me a miracle. God give me a miracle, and the miracles never come. It’s because the miracles aren’t necessary. If someone already believes in Jesus Christ then we don’t need the miracles.
Christ showed himself resurrected to the apostles because they needed to see him. Because remember, just a few days earlier they saw him dead on the cross. And the gospel so eloquently tells us that he was in fact dead. As we came together during Holy Week, over and over and over again, the church read the gospel that he was dead. Herod didn’t realize that he was dead, but the soldiers went and they found that he was already dead. They were surprised that he was already dead. There was no doubt that Jesus Christ was dead on the cross. There was no doubt that that dead body had been put into the grave. So naturally the apostles needed a little bit more encouragement to believe, and so God gave it to them in allowing them to see him alive.
We, my brothers and sisters, are different. We have the benefit of 2000 years of witness. The apostles who witnessed God, the women who witnessed God, the first saints of the church, who witnessed God with their own eyes and hands have told us what they saw. The gospel says that Christ appeared to hundreds. There was no doubt, and yet still today, people try to twist the truth. Still today, people try to lie that it wasn’t really God on the cross or that maybe Jesus didn’t really raise from the dead. The world will always lie to us, but the church being guided by the Holy Spirit will always tell us the truth because the church is the Body of Christ.
We, my brothers and sisters, are the living testimony of the resurrected Christ. We are the ones who the people of today get to see in order to believe, but they have to see Christ in us. They can’t see our fallenness. They can’t see our sinfulness. We have to do better for the world to see Christ in us so that the world will believe. That is our great gift and great responsibility. Because Christ is risen, he is still alive. He is on his throne in heaven and in our baptism, we have been united to him. So we now have to go out into the world as the witnesses and the physical proof of God, so that those who we meet on the street, our neighbors, our coworkers, our family who may have fallen away from the church, we now can go out so people can see and believe. Christ is risen and everything starts new and fresh. Glory to God for all things.
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