evening of that first day of the week,
doors were locked, where the disciples were,
of the Jews,
and stood in their midst
to them, “Peace be with you.”
had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
to them again, “Peace be with you.
Father has sent me, so I send you.”
he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
the Holy Spirit.
you forgive are forgiven them,
sins you retain are retained.”
called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
with them when Jesus came.
other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
said to them,
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.”
Now a week
later his disciples were again inside
was with them.
came, although the doors were locked,
in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
your hand and put it into my side,
and do not
be unbelieving, but believe.”
answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
are those who have not seen and have believed.”
did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
not written in this book.
are written that you may come to believe
is the Christ, the Son of God,
through this belief you may have life in his name.
“My Lord and my God.” The emphasis being on the second.
How does that
unwrap itself in all of our lives? You
and I were not there two thousand years ago, but we happen to be here now. Jesus is saying to us, “Are those words really on your lips? Do you know that you are immersed in the
Kingdom of God, and if you truly experience my love in this world — it is not
going to end. But to keep that alive,
you and I need to keep saying to ourselves, “My Lord and my God.”
We need to keep
saying to one another, “I love you. How are you?
Are you feeling OK?
Is there something
going on in your life?“ You don’t just
say that once but you keep saying it over and over again because we want to
keep all of our relationships alive. We
know that we need each other.
On this particular
Sunday Jesus asks, “Are you ready to
say, ‘My Lord and my God.’ ”
In our faith we do
a lot of rituals. Some of them we
understand and some we don’t understand.
Yesterday we had a wedding here and there was the bride who was baptized
but not in the Catholic Church, and there was a friend with her who was
So the bride
said, “Father, my friend has a question
to ask you.”
said, “I’ve been Catholic all my life
and I come to church and I come to Mass. But when it comes to the Gospel
reading, my friends take their arms and hands and they do something strange. They
come down over their nose, and I can’t figure out if they are scratching their
nose or if there is some reason for it.” And she was very sincere.
“Yes, there is a
reason why we do this,” I said. “Do you
notice that when you come to church that you are seated for the first two
readings? But when the Gospel, the word
of Jesus, is going to be proclaimed everyone stands. Before we hear those words, and in our hearts
we say, “May I receive the Gospel of
Jesus Christ in my mind and in my thoughts.
May I proclaim that Gospel with my voice and my lips. And may that Gospel of Jesus Christ always
remain in my heart.”
So it should be
done with reverence. It tells us
something. If someone walks in and
says, “You people, I don’t know what
you’re doing.” It should be very clear
to us that we make that sign of the Cross, and when we do that we are
saying, “My Lord and my God. I hear these words over and over again, and I
need that ritual in my life.”
that you and I do all the time: When it
comes time for communion we come up and the communion minister will say, “The
body of Christ. The blood of Christ.”
We say, “Amen.”
Why do we say
“Amen.” Did they think that would be a
good place to stick that word in?
But the Amen is really
when you and I are saying, “I know the
bread and wine are the body and blood of Jesus Christ.” Why do we keep saying
“Amen.” Because when we say “Amen” what
we are saying, “My Lord and my God. I
know exactly what I’m doing here. This
is not an empty ritual.”
Our faith is so
rich and invites us over and over again to grasp and to say, “I know that God is in my life. And sometimes I’m fearful, and sometimes I’m
not sure if God is listening. But maybe
it’s because I’m the one not listening.
Maybe I’m asking for something that is absolutely ridiculous in my life,
and it is not going to help. It is just
something I want.” Rather say, “God.
What do you want to give me today?
What is it that I need from you?”
The other day I
was with a young man who had just attempted suicide. He has no faith. In trying to help him to grasp how important
his life is, I told him what a difference it would make if he would bring God
into his life. There is something there
that he is not understanding. There is a
ritual that he’s missing. This is the
third time he has wanted to leave all of us.
But he is one of
us. You don’t have to know who he is,
you don’t have to know where he lives, you don’t have to know anything about
him. He is one of us. That’s why our faith has to be so alive so it
rubs off on others. That’s why we sign
ourselves. That’s why we hear the same
Gospels over and over again.
And that’s why we
say, “Amen,” and receive Eucharist.
Because we never know when some fear is going to come in and we are going
to be like Thomas and not sure if God cares if we are dead or alive. That’s the moment that God will say, “Come here.
Put your finger in my hand. Put
your hand right here in my side. I’m
God. I’m here for everyone.”
That’s why God
says we should always keep our faith alive because we never know what is going
in the middle of the night I was called to the hospital. A young woman was in Intensive Care. She and a young friend were out riding their
motorcycles up in Iowa and, bingo, a deer came out of the woods and ran right in
front of them and they hit head on.
She was flown to
Quincy. He was flown to Iowa City. They said,
“Father, we think she is probably brain dead. We don’t know if she is going to make
it.” Here was a beautiful young woman
and it was her moment to just say, “My
Lord and my God. If you’re going to take
me home, or if you’re going to leave me here — all I know is that this is what
it’s all about.”
We’re living on
the edge all the time and that’s good because when we are on the edge we have
to stay awake. We have to embrace all of
this, and we cannot separate.
If God put us
here, as the first reading said, “to share everything,” when we take time to
call to mind our sins what we need to think about is, “Am I really taking care of my neighbor? Because if I don’t take care of my neighbor,
and my neighbor says, ‘I really don’t care about her,’ then what happens to
that person? And where are we?
But if we come
together and we know we are one family and we need to share these rituals, the
richness of our faith, then everything starts to come together. And so may you and I just say, “My Lord and my
Every time I go to
visit my Mom and Dad’s graves, and mine is right there, and on the tombstone my
parents had inscribed, “My Lord and my God.”
We are the people
of God, and that’s what Thomas was making clear when he said, “My Lord and my
God, how could I not know you, and believe in you, and follow you.
Send me wherever
* * *
Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament
Parish in Quincy, Illinois.