Second Sunday of Easter
Acts 2:42-47: 1 Peter 1 :3-9: John 20:19-31
Saint John Baptist de la Salle/Saint Stephen, April 16, 2023
Forty-two years ago, on April 7th, my sister Aleta gave birth to twins: James and Amanda. Now everyone knows that there are two kinds of twins: identical twins and fraternal twins. Identical twins are the same sex and look very similar, while fraternal twins can be male and female and usually do not look alike. But it does not matter if the two are identical or fraternal; we simply call them twins. The Gospels tell us that the name Thomas means "twin." Have you ever wondered who Thomas' twin was? Probably not. But today, you are going to find out.
Before I answer that question, I would like to ask you a question for which I know you have an answer: Is seeing believing? Now, we all know the answer: not everything we see, we can believe. I have always enjoyed watching magicians perform their tricks, and yet I know that what I am seeing is not real; it's only an illusion. Therefore, many things I see I do not believe, and yet I believe many things I cannot see.
What happened within the tomb remains a mystery, but on the Sunday following, the Risen Jesus appeared to his disciples behind locked doors. There, Jesus introduced a new world to all those who would follow him, speaking a new way of peace, of a Holy Spirit, and of the forgiveness of sins. Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it in my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe." The bishops of our country feel that weekly Mass attendance is declining because too many people do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Perhaps they are right; why would those who truly believe not be here every week to rejoice in and receive the Real Presence of Jesus?
"The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord," but Thomas wanted proof. So, Jesus invites Thomas to touch him, yet Thomas never does; he just sees and believes. Thomas reveals some interesting things to us about ourselves. We live in a world which says, "Prove it." It is not so much that we doubt – it's just that we want proof. Like Thomas, we want to see it with our own eyes. The Baptist Church on Clingman Road offers proof. The sign outside simply says, "An empty tomb is proof that Jesus is risen." Really?
Today, we are gathered in this room, just like the disciples, and we too know Jesus is present, even though we have not seen him. We know that the Risen Christ is always present in His Church, especially in the Eucharist. The Risen One is always present in the Sacraments so that when we baptize, it is really Christ who baptizes. He is present in his Word, for it is Christ who speaks when the Holy Scriptures are read, and Christ is present, lastly, when we the Church pray and sing. For Jesus promised, "When two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst."
Yet not one of us has ever seen Jesus, for our faith cannot be proved. Now, are we beginning to see who Thomas' twin is? We are never told who Thomas' twin is for a reason, and the reason is simple: Each of us is a twin to Thomas We doubt, we want proof, and yet we are blessed because we believe without seeing. Our faith is believing in a God who raised Jesus from the dead. All we can do is believe or choose not to believe. If we choose not to believe, then we merely forget it and go on our merry way. However, if we choose to believe, we can say with certainty that Thomas' long-lost twin has been found.