In our Gospel this morning, we get a clear example of how important community is. The women and the Apostles, except Thomas, were gathered on the night of the Resurrection of Jesus when Our Lord appeared to them. Perhaps he was daring enough to go out to gather food and supplies while the others were huddled together in fear that the Roman soldiers or the Jewish leaders might come to arrest them next, or maybe he just wanted to be alone, or maybe he simply went out for a walk to clear his mind. The story doesn’t say. Nevertheless, Thomas wasn’t there and he missed seeing Jesus. He was absent from the community. Sad for Thomas!
It wasn’t until a week later that the Lord showed Himself again. This second appearance could be an indication, perhaps inspired by Jesus Himself, that the first day of the week was to be the day for the Christian community to gather together to celebrate and to participate in Jesus’ saving death and Resurrection. This time, Thomas was with his community when Jesus appeared and Thomas came to believe. This event shows us how hard it is sometimes to believe, and how gathering with our faith community can bolster our own faith. Now, we don’t really know whether Thomas actually touched Jesus’ hands and side, but we know that his own heart and mind moved beyond mere physical recognition to the most explicit profession of faith in Christ found in the Gospels: “My Lord and my God.”
Some of us were taught to say these words silently when the priest elevates the host and the chalice at the Consecration. If you see me moving my lips during the elevation, I am saying, “I do believe, Lord; help my unbelief!” when the host is raised, and “my Lord and my God” when the chalice is raised. Others may say some similar words. In any event, when we recite whatever words we may use during this most sacred part of the Mass, we are professing our faith, just as Thomas did.