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Lectio Divina: quotes related to this weeks Gospel

Find below some quotes from the Church Fathers and other notable authors in relation to the Gospel of the second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday)

St. Augustine (354-430): The shut door did not hinder the body, wherein Divinity resided. He could enter without open doors, who was as born without a violation of His mother’s virginity.

Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-614): But why is He [the Holy Spirit] first given to the disciples on earth, and afterwards sent from heaven? Because there are two commandments of love, to love God, and to love our neighbour. The spirit to love our neighbour is given on earth, the spirit to love God is given from heaven. As then love is one, and there are two commandments; so the Spirit is one, and there are two gifts of the Spirit. And the first is given by our Lord while yet upon earth, the second from heaven, because by the love of our neighbour we learn how to arrive at the love of God.

St. Augustine (354-430): The love of the Church, which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, remits the sins of those who partake of it; but retains the sins of those who do not. Where then He has said, Receive you the Holy Spirit, He instantly makes mention of the remission and retaining of sins.

Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-614): It was not an accident that that particular disciple was not present. The Divine mercy ordained that a doubting disciple should, by feeling in his Master the wounds of the flesh, heal in us the wounds of unbelief. The unbelief of Thomas is more profitable to our faith, than the belief of the other disciples; for, the touch by which he is brought to believe, confirming our minds in belief, beyond all question.

Pope Benedict xvi: The proverbial scene of the doubting Thomas that occurred eight days after Easter is very well known. At first he did not believe that Jesus had appeared in his absence and said:  “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe” (Jn 20: 25).

Basically, from these words emerges the conviction that Jesus can now be recognized by his wounds rather than by his face. Thomas holds that the signs that confirm Jesus’ identity are now above all his wounds, in which he reveals to us how much he loved us. In this the Apostle is not mistaken.

As we know, Jesus reappeared among his disciples eight days later and this time Thomas was present. Jesus summons him:  “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing” (Jn 20: 27).

Thomas reacts with the most splendid profession of faith in the whole of the New Testament:  “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20: 28). St Augustine comments on this:  Thomas “saw and touched the man, and acknowledged the God whom he neither saw nor touched; but by the means of what he saw and touched, he now put far away from him every doubt, and believed the other” (In ev. Jo. 121, 5).

The Evangelist continues with Jesus’ last words to Thomas:  “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (Jn 20: 29). This sentence can also be put into the present:  “Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe”.

In any case, here Jesus spells out a fundamental principle for Christians who will come after Thomas, hence, for all of us.

It is interesting to note that another Thomas, the great Medieval theologian of Aquinas, juxtaposed this formula of blessedness with the apparently opposite one recorded by Luke:  “Blessed are the eyes which see what you see!” (Lk 10: 23). However, Aquinas comments:  “Those who believe without seeing are more meritorious than those who, seeing, believe” (In Johann. XXlectio VI 2566).