We’ve reached Easter and our Lord is resurrected! Now we begin 50 days of Easter celebration, beginning with these first 8 days of Easter Sunday, known as the Easter Octave. Let us use this time to recommit ourselves to our Lord and molding our lives according to His love and commandments. The sanctifying grace of the Sacraments is still very necessary and should be sought out with the same fervor as during Lent.
As we celebrate Jesus rising from the tomb, we need to join Him! We need to step out of this tomb of fear and, dare I say, laziness that has infected us over the last year in the name of COVID. When God created us, He said, "It is not good for man to be alone." We aren't created to be alone. We need each other. We need to see and hear each other. That is why Jesus established the Church for us—to bring us out of the tombs of our sins and into the light of His grace. But we do not receive that grace through the internet.
We continue streaming Masses for those who cannot physically come to Mass so that they can feel connected. We are not streaming for those who won’t try to get their kids up or who are traveling to a tournament. We need to remind ourselves of the need we have for God’s grace, which is received by personally and physically participating in the Sacraments. Fear will not get you into Heaven, but it most assuredly can keep you out. Rise above it and step into the Light of Christ!
– Father Scott Thomas, April 4, 2021
This weekend’s Gospel passage (John 20:19-31) has two important occurrences that can really speak to us today. Both deal with Jesus’ merciful love for us and our need to seek it out. And when we do seek it out, we will find a love like none other. But we have to seek it out in the right way.
Central to this passage is Saint Thomas and his doubting of the Resurrection. “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” He had to see it to believe it. He had to physically be there to accept it. But what was it that he was needing to accept? Of course, it was the victory of Christ over death. But that’s not all. Going deeper, we find that Thomas was struggling to accept his own forgiveness and redemption. He couldn’t do that until he was physically in the presence of Jesus placing his own hands in Jesus’ wounds. Jesus made Himself present for Thomas to physically receive His Savior, and all He was offering. And Jesus does the same for you. He makes Himself physically present in the Holy Eucharist. Are you coming to receive Him?
Beyond that, He makes Himself present in a special way through His priest in the Confessional, as the priest acts in persona Christi (in the person of Christ). Hence, the other important feature of this weekend’s passage—“Jesus said to them again, ‘Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them...’” He gave the Apostles, including “Doubting Thomas,” the authority to absolve sins in His person. But, again, we have to be physically present to receive that. Are you seeking this out and making yourself present to receive this merciful love?
– Father Scott Thomas, April 11, 2021
On this Third Sunday of Easter, Holy Mother Church gives us Saint Luke’s account of Jesus appearing to and eating with the Apostles and the other disciples who were with them (24:35-48). As we know from Saint John’s account (20:19-31), Jesus was in a physical body when He resurrected. All of the Gospels relate that Jesus’ body was nowhere to be found on Easter morning. John has Saint Thomas actually touching and inserting his hand into Jesus’s wounds. And Luke speaks of Jesus actually eating food. When Jesus resurrected, He did so in the same body that was crucified and buried.
When a loved one dies, we do not just throw their body in the ground and forget about it. Nor should we throw their ashes into the wind or a running stream. Rather, we respectfully dress the body and place it in the ground (or a tomb) to wait for the end of time. This is because at the end of time when Jesus returns, He will raise our bodies to be glorified like His. At the end of time. Not when you die. You don’t have another body awaiting you in Heaven.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches (#1016), “By death the soul is separated from the body, but in the resurrection God will give incorruptible life to our body, transformed by reunion with our soul. Just as Christ is risen and lives for ever, so all of us will rise at the last day.” So when we die, our soul goes to its particular judgment; and, if you merit eternal life, you await the end of time with Jesus and all the Saints, eagerly anticipating the resurrection of the dead. During that time, we enjoy perfect communion with God and all the angels and saints, interceding for those still on earth.
– Father Scott Thomas, April 18, 2021