THE LAST HOMILY ON 26TH APRIL 1987
Today's Gospel clearly reminds us, I would say very clearly, that He is examining those who should have enlarged the greatness of His Name and the strength of His power, the right of His Divinity and the splendour of His Grace: He is putting them to the test, He is examining them.
"And He appeared to them" . Evidently those who saw Jesus, on the first day, remained surprised, they believed. Jesus was very happy of their sudden faith and then He uttered the famous words :"Receive the Holy Spirit".
He breathed over them and invited them to remit sins because "whose soever sins you remit, they are remitted unto them and whose soever sins you retain they are retained."
This part of the text may create some doubts in those who don't have a certain knowledge of the Holy Gospels. The page doesn't say that those who haven't seen or heard the words that remit sins won't have their sins remitted; but those to whom the Apostles don't remit sins, so the Apostles find that there's hostility with God, there's a conflict with God, so the reality of faith is lacking: it's impossible to remit sins.
They must have a conversion, be true, promise and they will have their sins remitted. This is a clear thing and we must remember it.
Then, afterwards, the second time, the following day, Thomas (he is one of the twelve, called Didymus) wasn't with them when Jesus came. The other disciples said to him: "We have seen the Lord", but he said:" Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails and put my fingers into the print of the nails and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe."
This sentence is famous. He became famous, Thomas, who had the courage to put some conditions to His faith.
Here is how the Lord shows His goodness. Thomas was one of the Apostles, he had followed Jesus, he had witnessed His generous Crucifixion , he had felt the miracles of love, he was then seeing the emotion of the other Apostles, but: except he didn't put his fingers in the print of the nails and thrust his hand into His side, he wouldn't believe.
And then the Lord came and said to Thomas: "Peace be unto you" to all the Apostles and He said: " Thomas, reach hither thy finger and behold my hands and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into my side and be not faithless but believing."
Now everybody can think "We haven't these signs", maybe. There were some Saints who received these signs, a memory of the truth of Christ Crucified and Resurrected, but, apart from everything, there remains for us the page from the Gospel. This page is immortal.
The first one who could kiss His feet and adore Him was Mary Magdalene, the famous sinner who once converted became a wonderful creature; there is a whole story.
But then has anything else happened? Here is the question.
In case, let's say, let's have the courage to say like Saint Thomas " Except I shall put my fingers into the print of the nails, except I shall thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe."
Let them try to utter these words!
But is the contempt to God's government permissible in His Church even with extraordinary signs to comfort the believers, to help His Church, to make Grace live, to make hope wonderful, to feel that God's reign isn't far and that notwithstanding the temptation of evil, God is always God?
Who created the sun? Who has been giving for centuries, centuries and centuries the greatness of its punctuality, so that the famous clockmakers are proud of their studies and attention because the clock they sell, they make and sell, is always on time with the solar hour?
But who is the sun? What is the sun? What are the stars? Far away yet wonderful! What is this Universe?
Well, we have slid on superstition, on a very insane faith.
But it is sure that faith is the real essential patrimony: without faith life is a piece of buffoonery, it's a stupid drama, it's a failed action: without faith life is really nothing, really sad on the one side and funny on the other.
And men don't perceive it, and it's not enough not to perceive it, and they don't take remedial measures and faith doesn't act to repair this frightening emptiness of discouragement and of evil: they don't do this.
People run here and there looking for a prophet, a thaumaturge to see if he can do something. It's half a superstition mixed with a little piece of faith, it's really ridiculous.
Faith, believed as it should, kept as it should, fed so that it doesn't perish, this is the great richness of our life. And so, let God deal with us as He did with Saint Didymus the great Apostle who didn't believe and who was called Thomas, may He allow to us too the intervention of a sweet and right humiliation and may He make us see and hear what we haven't seen and heard yet to be really faithful.
I believe in One Only God...