HOMILY — EasterSunday2
TOWARD A HOMILY FOR SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER
Blessed are you, Thomas, because you believe.
Why do we go to church on Sunday?
Of all things on a Sunday when we cannot gather in church because of the danger of spreading the rampant virus the word of God speaks to us about the significance of Sundays in the life of Christians. The tradition of gathering on the first day of the week has been handed on to us. Now we are being called this day to revisit the reason for coming together to celebrate the Eucharist in the presence of our risen Lord.
What gets us started in this direction is the simple fact that John the Gospel writer makes mention of events which occurred on the evening of the first day of the week immediately following the death of Jesus and what occurred one week later on first day of the next week. He certainly had in mind the practice of Christians coming together for worship on Sundays.
What makes this so meaningful for us is that traditional practice of the faith this way has been temporarily suspended. So two questions arise: why is this practice so important — really vital — and how are we to make this practice of our faith more a part of our lives once we are able to return to this tradition?
Surprisingly the person in the Gospel that opens our eyes to what God did then and is doing now is the Apostle Thomas. Doubting Thomas not only shows his weakness and lack of faith but makes manifest the merciful love of Christ toward him and how Thomas accepted pardon and forgiveness. He is a saint to remember.
The great difference between the two Sundays for Thomas was his absence (or non-presence) with the new community and the presence of the risen Christ both times. What changed the heart of Thomas to be a believing disciple was the encounter he had with Jesus on the second Sunday was his exchange in person with the risen Lord. Christ himself offered Thomas mercy and he accepted it. Christ let Thomas touch him and his wounds and spoke so gently and lovingly Believe. We can picture Thomas for his part as falling to his knees and saying directly face to face to Christ My Lord and my God. As best we know Thomas never again missed the liturgical assembly of God’s people on the newly named Lord’s Day.
So how are we going to respond to my two questions above when this crisis is all over — hopefully soon in the coming weeks? Am I going to spend some time reflecting on the origin and background of our Christian Sunday tradition of Mass? Secondly, am I going to observe the Lord’s Day with greater conscious and loving participation at Mass?
Briefly now, do I know the history of God’s people from ancient times involving the first three Commandments of the Covenant regarding worship of God as he wants its? Am I familiar with the place of the Last Supper in Jesus’s renewal of the Covenant through his death and resurrection? Do I understand the transition of the early Christians and all Christians thereafter from Saturday worship to Sunday worship? Do I realize and teach my children that Sunday Eucharist is a “must” in living the Christian way of life and reaching eternal life? That it is not just an option according to our wishes?
To the second question what is my resolution regarding my participation in the Eucharistic celebration on Sundays? Am I going to prepare myself to listen more closely to the word of God by reviewing the Sunday scriptures before going to Mass? Am I going to teach myself to know that it is the real living Christ present at Mass in his word, in his priest, in his Body and Blood, and in his assembly of believers? Am I going to make a greater effort to “take home from Mass” the effects of encountering Christ there and putting it into practice in my daily life so I can return the next Sunday in greater praise of God?
This is God’s word to us this day. Is it going to make a difference as it did in the life of Thomas the Apostle?
Blessed be God! Blessed be his Easter people!