Tuesday, April 13, 2010

“Peace be with you.”

Caravaggio - The Incredulity of Saint Thomas
I was moved by the Gospel reading and our priest's homily this past Second Sunday of Easter. Our reading was on John 20:19-31. Many of you will recall it is the Scripture that tells us about Thomas the Apostle for disbelieving Jesus' resurrection when first told of it, then proclaiming "My Lord and my God" on seeing Jesus. Thomas denied professing his faith in Jesus until, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Our priest went on to speak about Saint Thomas and his attributes as well as his faults. Thomas missed out on the first presence to the Apostles of our resurrected Lord. And like many humans even today, Saint Thomas had doubts in his faith because he wanted evidence and to see what he is to believe. Jesus came in His presence once again to the Apostles, this time Thomas was present, and Jesus said to Thomas, "...do not be unbelieving, but believe." This Gospel reminds me of the many times I've been debated by non-Catholics on the sinfulness of past successors of Saint Peter (aka Catholic Popes) - their debates are always to try and disprove the infallibility of Popes by pointing to their mistakes. What these persons do not understand in that because the Catholic Church claims the Pope speaks infallible on matters of faith and morals does not mean he is still not human and will sin. The Apostles Jesus chose made mistakes and sinned!

Our priest went on to compare this Gospel reading with the fact that yes our Lord is always with us wherever we are, but there are so many Christians who deny, like Saint Thomas, the real presence of Jesus everyday at the Sacrifice of Mass, and in which Jesus Christ is truly present under the bread and wine. This is one main reason I am Catholic...The Church honors the Eucharist as one of her most exalted mysteries, to shine forth in all its brilliance and splendor. I won't be like Saint Thomas and miss out on the presence of Christ, I don't need to "see" Him to know He is present - my faith is enough and Jesus blesses me, "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." The Eucharist is a precious gift from Christ, which in a wonderful manner links heaven with earth, God with man, uniting us most intimately and keeping us united.

We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these, but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]). Justin Martyr

1 comment:

Justine and Fernando said...

Thanks for sharing, Melissa. It's hard for me to find insight on this topic. Wow it would be so nice to live by another Catholic mom like you so I could share and discuss my faith more. I find it even more important now that I have a little one!