To meet the living God we must “tenderly kiss the wounds of Jesus in our hungry, poor, sick, imprisoned brothers and sisters,” Pope Francis said at Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, this morning, as he marked the Feast of St Thomas the Apostle.
“Study, meditation and mortification are not enough to bring us to encounter the living Christ,” he continued.
“Like St Thomas, our life will only be changed when we touch Christ’s wounds present in the poor, sick and needy.”
Referring to when Jesus appeared to the apostles after the Resurrection, but Thomas was not there, Pope Francis said: “(God) wanted him to wait a week. The Lord knows why he does such things. And he gives the time he believes best for each of us. He gave Thomas a week.”
When Jesus revealed himself with his wounds “his whole body was clean, beautiful, full of light,” said the Pope.
“(Thomas) was stubborn. But the Lord wanted exactly that, a stubborn person to make us understand something greater. Thomas saw the Lord, was invited to put his finger into the wounds left by the nails; to put his hand in His side and he did not say, ‘It’s true: the Lord is risen’. No! He went further. He said: ‘God’. The first of the disciples who makes the confession of the divinity of Christ after the Resurrection. And he worshiped Him.”
According to Vatican Radio, the Pontiff added: “And so – continued the Pope – we understand what the Lord’s intention was when he made him wait: he wanted to guide his disbelief, not to an affirmation of the Resurrection, but an affirmation of His Divinity.”
The “path to our encounter with Jesus and God,” he said, “are his wounds. There is no other”.
Pope Francis concluded that we do not need to go on a “refresher course” to touch the living God, but to enter into the wounds of Jesus, and for this “all we have to do is go out onto the street. Let us as St. Thomas for the grace to have the courage to enter into the wounds of Jesus with tenderness and thus we will certainly have the grace to worship the living God.”