The following homily was prepared for the Readings of Sunday within the Octave of Easter, but was never delivered. I abridged the homily, and presented it on my blog.
Do you have any doubting-Thomas friends? Do you have friends that want more proof of all this God stuff, and all this Church stuff? I know I heard my peers and classmates say all these things when I started going back to Church my senior year. “Yeah, I won’t believe… Yeah, I can’t believe… unless I see something with my own two eyes.”
One may even argue that doubting-Thomas wasn’t being a doubter for doubts sake, as much as Thomas was trying to prevent his friends from saying something untrue. One can argue that Thomas was honest-Thomas, or Integrity-Thomas, refusing to let his friends get caught up in hysteria. It certainly makes it easier to relate if Thomas is someone who might struggle, as, perhaps, we have.
If we pull Thomas from merely being the doubter, we can look at all doubt a new. Is it for skepticism that our friends doubt, or is it for Truth? Is it merely for hatred, or could it be more than that? If we see Thomas anew here, maybe it will help us, us who are frustrated trying to share our faith in the Risen Lord with those who insist that God, Jesus, or the Church doesn’t matter.
What does our Lord Jesus tell Thomas: “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” So how could we apply this to those we reach out to, from the honest agnostic to the most stubborn of doubters?
Certainly, Thomas would have recognized the face of the Master, to whom he broke bread with, to whom he learned the Way. Why is it so essential that Thomas touch Jesus wounds in such a way? Jesus is looking for a real genuine closeness with Thomas, and words just won’t do.
So, I believe it would be with us. As Jesus opened his life to Thomas, so as we Evangelize, we open our lives to others. As Jesus made this a real personal encounter, so are we to be personal. Words do not suffice. It is not enough that we quote scripture, that we have a nice Catechism quote, if our Evangelization does not reveal how Jesus has effected us. Our scriptures, our Catechism quotes will fail us, if we cannot lovingly open our lives in Evangelizing in the way that Jesus opens up to Thomas.
We may not need an Augustine or Francis conversion story, because, regardless, an encounter with Jesus alters the trajectory of our lives permanently. Even Jesus, had his own wounds that he showed to Thomas. So we, may have our own brokenness that we can share with others, because it gives them the assurance that God will never abandon us, or come through for us because we are worthy.
So pray for all the doubters, skeptics, honest and good-willed agnostics, and the ones that roll their eyes whenever your good Christian joy bursts into the room. Your Good News to them is already in your life and in your heart. The Good News you must share has already been worked by our Lord. The Good News you bear means that you “do not be unbelieving… but BELIEVE!”