The gospel according to John narrates that, on the day of the resurrection, while the apostles had locked themselves in, hiding from the Jewish leaders, Jesus walked through the closed doors and stood among them.
The apostle Thomas was not with the other ten. When he came back the others shared with him the good news that Jesus had indeed risen and had visited them. Thomas heard the good news, yet could not believe that Jesus had indeed risen. He told the others that he would only believe when he had the opportunity to meet Jesus personally and touch his wounds.
Eight days later Jesus came again and stood among the apostles, this time Thomas was with the others and had the opportunity to experience the risen lord. This led Thomas to declare: “My Lord and my God!”
What is faith? How can faith grow stronger? For Thomas it was not enough to hear the good news, but he needed to experience the risen Christ. The believer needs to accepted the message being evangelised and get acquainted with and accept the person of the risen one!
Between 1918 and 1920 Joseph De Piro was rector at the Mdina Major Diocesan Seminary, Malta. Some years later, a newly ordained priest who had been a seminarian during that time, invited the Servant of God to deliver the homily at his first solemn Mass. De Piro preached about the priesthood, focusing on evangelisation. He said that this was the main ministry of every presbyter. De Piro shares how he understood faith.
Through Baptism, we all participate in Christ’s priesthood, and therefore we all have the duty to evangelise.
“It cannot be denied that any society is pleased with its civilization and progress in the arts, science and all sorts of inventions. Yet, however much a nation may have advanced on the road of civilization and progress, it always needs the light that will lead it to the safe haven of glory. Religious instruction is an absolute necessity. Society must be instructed, taught how it ought to conduct itself in God’s sight….
Jesus Christ points to the one he sent, … his priest saying, “Behold the light that will keep you from error. Behold the light that will lead you to the safe haven of well-being and glory….”
If the priest were taken away then Jesus Christ would also be taken away and wherever Jesus Christ does not reign there one would find not light but darkness, not truth but error, not life but death since only Jesus Christ can say, “I am the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6).
Dearly Beloved, every time that error starts to spread like a poisonous snake in a country, … When selfishness triumphs and the poor, the widow, the orphan are mistreated, it is the priest who preaches the evangelical commandment of charity and with apostolic courage reminds all of that judgement that awaits us in the next world.
When corruption infects and breaks the family, it is always the priest who speaks, and at his word calm returns, …. The priest … speaks to the young and the old… rich and the poor,… speaks indiscriminately to all: “Love God, love one another, follow the way of virtue and flee evil-doing.”