Psalm 118:2 “Let the house of Israel say His mercy endures forever.”
Luke, the author of Acts, describes the life-style and activities of the early Christians, holding up for us, as it were, a model of what the Church is called to become. The Apostles’ faith enabled them to minister to the people, giving them the Lord’s healing love through the “signs and wonders” that Jesus had promised would accompany their work. We know that this power of the Resurrection still operates today because we have seen how a friendly smile, a gentle touch or a willingness to forgive can heal a broken spirit.
Today’s Gospel describes how Jesus entrusted to His Apostles His mission of preaching the “good news” of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation. The risen Lord gives the Apostles the authority to remit sins in his name. He gives the Apostles the power of God’s mercy for the sinner, the gift of forgiving sins from God’s treasury of mercy. The clearest way of expressing our belief in the presence of the risen Jesus among us is through our own forgiveness of others.
The Gospel also presents the fearless apostle St. Thomas, in his uncompromising honesty, demanding a personal vision of, and physical contact with, the risen Jesus as a condition for his belief. Thomas had not been with the disciples when Jesus first appeared to them. When the Lord appeared to Thomas later, He said: “Blessed are those who have not seen but have believed.” Thomas was able to overcome his doubts by seeing the risen Jesus. For us Christians today who are no longer able to "see" Jesus with their eyes, must believe when we hear God’s Word as St. Paul puts it "faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ" (Rom 10:17).
Pope St Gregory the Great preached a marvelous homily on this encounter between Thomas and the Risen Lord. He said “Surely it was not by chance that this chosen disciple, was missing in the first place? Or that on his return he heard, that hearing he doubted, that doubting he touched, and that touching he believed? It was by divine dispensation and not by chance that things so fell out. God's Mercy worked wonderfully, for when that doubting disciple touched his Master's wounded flesh he cured the wound of our disbelief... So this doubting disciple, who actually touched, became a witness to the reality of the resurrection". So it can become with each one of us. We are invited to become living witnesses in our own day to the reality of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thomas touched the wounded side of our beloved Savior to heal the wounds of our own disbelief.
Thomas, the “doubting Apostle” makes the great profession of faith, “My Lord and my God.” Thomas’ faith culminated in his self-surrender to Jesus, his heroic missionary expedition to India in A.D. 52, his fearless preaching, and the powerful testimony given by his martyrdom in A.D. 72.
Let us approach the throne of Mercy and cry out with St. Thomas: "My Lord and My God" (Jn 20:28).