Faithlife Sermons

Saint Thomas, Apostle

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Thomas' confession of Jesus as "My Lord and my God" pointed to a transformed citizenship that relativized every earthly citizenship and focused him on the one earthly-heavenly people over which Jesus ruled.

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Transcript

Title

Our Citizenship is in Heaven

Outline

While I grew up in a family of Eisenhower Republicans, politics and patriotism was not a bit topic of discussion

I myself during high school was radically patriotic and quite right wing in my politics
That would start to change while on weekend maneuvers with an elite ROTC group at Wheaton College, when I saw their bayonet practice and my inner self said, “That’s not Jesus”
While my Christian faith had always been strong, I had suddenly discovered that I was not saying “My Lord and My God” over all of my life.

Thomas the believer was the topic of a homily last year

I pointed out that Thomas was a realist, committed to face facts as they were.
For Thomas it was necessary to have evidence of the resurrection, not excited stories.
But when he saw the evidence he was “all in” - “My Lord and my God”
And this had implications for him. Remember that the God of Israel was in the Temple, not the upper room.
Remember that Roman emperors were “Lord” and one burned incense to the “genius of the Emperor”
So Thomas’s God was the universal Lord Jesus, and his people were wherever there were believers
Thomas followed this God to the east and perhaps beyond the east to India, converting the ancient oppressors of Israel to his new nationality

That new nationality is Paul’s message in Ephesians

He was saying that the Ephesians were not “at home” in their “nationality” in the Roman Empire and sort of strangers and sojourners in the Kingdom of God, but rather their birth citizenship had now paled as they were “fellow citizens” of not just the Church over the whole earth, but also with those in heaven, with the whole household of God.
As in any kingdom or empire, there is a structure: NT Apostles and OT Prophets laying the foundation, Christ Jesus the King tying the building, so to speak, together
We are being built together (and others are still being added) to this temple, which is God’s ethnos and God’s kingdom - world empires and kingdoms are reduced to mayors and city managers with limited powers.
The important thing for us is to be building the kingdom, the temple, so that it is truly a place for God’s Spirit.

So, sisters, we build the kingdom with St Thomas

He had enjoyed the national festivals of Judaism, and I am sure that he enjoyed some of the festivals of the countries in which he evangelized. But he drew the line at anything that rivaled his allegiance to Jesus, his single focus.
Today that would be all forms of nationalism and racism at least, but then Paul points out how easy it was to slip into being part of a sacrifice to the emperor or some other deity.
In dong this he did not need to call out the idolatry of the peoples, for he was focused on point to the one great value: “My Lord and my God” And his desire was to build the one great temple in which all were unified in one worship.
If we have that focus, then we are at home wherever we are assigned and foreigners in our native culture. And we have little time for anything else than that adoration pointed to in “My Lord and my God” and leading others by teaching and example to that same adoration. That is our native land; that is our great loyalty; and that is our future home into which God will transform this world.

Readings

Catholic Daily Readings 7-3-2021: Saint Thomas, Apostle

FIRST READING

Ephesians 2:19–22

19 So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. 21 Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; 22 in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Catholic Daily Readings 7-3-2021: Saint Thomas, Apostle

RESPONSE

Mark 16:15

15 He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.

PSALM

Psalm 117:1bc, 2

1 Praise the LORD, all you nations!

Extol him, all you peoples!

2 His mercy for us is strong;

the faithfulness of the LORD is forever.

Hallelujah!

Catholic Daily Readings 7-3-2021: Saint Thomas, Apostle

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION

John 20:29

29 Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

GOSPEL

John 20:24–29

24 Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 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.” 26 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.” 27 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.” 28  Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Notes

Catholic Daily Readings 7-3-2021: Saint Thomas, Apostle

SATURDAY, JULY 3, 2021 | FEAST

SAINT THOMAS, APOSTLE

YEARS 1 & 2 | ROMAN MISSAL | LECTIONARY

First Reading Ephesians 2:19–22

Response Mark 16:15

Psalm Psalm 117:1bc, 2

Gospel Acclamation John 20:29

Gospel John 20:24–29

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