Saint Thomas! Oh Thomas, how close you were to missing out on sainthood. How close you were to losing your identity and being consigned to an eternity of confusion and limitation, along with Judas, Pilate, and everyone else who could not step out into the beautiful dark and believe. Thanks be to God (and truly, to God, for he mercifully came to you), you were able to see the risen Christ and come to faith.
We know well the story from today's Gospel, the second Sunday of Easter. “Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came” (Jn 20:24). When Thomas, who has missed Christ's appearance that Easter Sunday evening, is told by the ten of the resurrection, Thomas doesn't believe. It is not until a week later, when Jesus appears and allows the doubter to put his hands into his wounds, that Thomas believes, exclaiming, “My Lord and my God!” This prompts Jesus' response: “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” (Jn 20:29).
Faith is hard. We want signs. We want proof. But those are inimical to faith. For faith, like love, is not ultimately about us. It is about Christ. The signs and proof are about our uncertainty and insecurity. We want those things so we can rest assured.
Saint John, the apostle of love, speaks of true faith in our second reading: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the Father loves also the one begotten by him” (1 Jn 5:1). Faith and love are intertwined. God does nothing for himself. God is love, pouring himself out to the Trinity and to us. If we have faith in God, then we are of God, that is, we are on the road to pure love.
If we do not have true faith, then we are slaves: trapped in the prison cell of our minds, as Thomas was for that week. If we have faith in Jesus Christ, then we have love. Then we have the fullness of life. Then we will be saints, like Thomas.
I want to recognize all those who helped make last week's Triduum services not just possible, but beautiful: Margie Shiel and the choirs and cantors, the sacristans and decorators, the lectors and commentators, the ushers, and the altar servers led by Hank Lyon. Thank you!
As many of you know, parishioner Tom Dombai is in the process of becoming a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church. There are certain benchmarks or milestones in the four year process, one of those being the institution into the "Ministry of Reader." Today, Sunday the 8th, at a Mass at Mundelein Seminary, Tom will be installed as a Lector for the Church by Bishop Wypych. Congratulations, Tom, and we look forward to continue seeing you read at Mass. Please keep Tom, his wife, Marie, and the Dombai family in your prayers. Tom will be ordained a deacon, God willing, in 2020.
In case you missed the Easter bulletin, we are excited to welcome to the St. Juliana staff: Mr. Glenn deCastro, the new director of music; Father Emanuel Torres-Fuentes, the new associate pastor; Mr. Pat Aylward, the new SJS athletic director. They all will officially begin their assignments on July 1st. We will have a farewell Mass for Margie Shiel, Fr. Laurent Mhagama, and Fred LaCerra on Sunday, June 3rd at the 11am Mass.
School board will meet tomorrow, Monday night and my Tuesday Theology Talk at 7pm in the chapel will be on St. Theresa of Avila and St. Therese of Lisieux, two amazing female saints (and doctors of the church)! Next Sunday, April 15th is the Teen Ministry. We will have a special choir from Notre Dame College Prep at the 5pm Mass that week!
Yours in Christ,