July 3, Saint Thomas, Apostle
The blessedness of the Church
Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I 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 and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Jn 20,24-29
A month ago, mommy was in the Holy Land with Peter and Gabriella, two dear friends. I would have gladly gone too, if the work engagements had allowed me to. But it is as if I had gone there, as marriage features the transitive property related to grace, by which feelings, thoughts and blessings flow between husband and wife in a mysterious way, and one’s experience ends up by being the experience of both. I was in Milan when I called Anna Maria, during the break in a business meeting. “How nice from you, Pierluigi – she said – I’m praying on the Mount of Beatitudes”. “Very good, pray for me too”. “I’m doing it right now” she added. We said goodbye, Anna Maria carried on with her prayer and I carried on with my meeting with a peace in my heart that reminded me of Jesus’s greeting to the apostles in today’s Gospel: “Peace be with you”. But where does this peace come from? It is a beatitude that Jesus did not mention on the mountain where Anna Maria was praying, but he announced it, later, to Thomas and it is reported in today’s Gospel: “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed”. It is the beatitude of the Church, which have been lived for two thousand years by all those who, believing the gospel, walk a spiritual path opposite to Thomas’s one. He believed because he saw, we can see because we believe. St. Augustine summarised it wonderfully: “Credo ut intelligam” I believe in order to understand. This is the first beatitude which, if fully lived, allows us to live all the others that Jesus listed on the mountain where Anna Maria was praying: blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the meek, blessed are the merciful, blessed are the pure in heart. It is a continuous miracle of God’s grace.