Saint Thomas the Apostle

July 3

Eph 2:19-22; John 20:24-29

Alfred Tennyson said: “There is more faith in doubt than in half the creeds.”

Today, we are celebrating the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle. Saint Thomas is the patron saint of people in doubt and was also known as the Doubting Thomas, Didymus and the Twin which is the meaning of the name, Thomas. Os Guinness said that the Latin word for ‘doubt’ is dubitare which comes from an Aryan root meaning, “two.” To believe is to be “in one mind” about accepting something as true; to disbelieve is to be “in one mind” about rejecting it. To doubt is to waver between the two, to believe and doubt at once and so to be “in two minds.”

St. Thomas was a Jew, had an ardent love for the Lord and was willing to die for Him when he went to Jerusalem. But he separated from the other apostles after the crucifixion. That is why after Jesus’ resurrection, when His disciples gathered together and He appeared to them for the first time, St. Thomas was not there. He had become the first who missed a Sunday event and first of the many who for various reasons did not go to church on Sunday. He did not believe on the news reported to him by the other disciples that Jesus was risen from the dead until he may be allowed to touch the wounds of Jesus Christ. For this, he earned the title of, ‘Doubting Thomas.’

We don’t know much about St. Thomas because some of the things reported about him were legends. But when Jesus learned that his friend Lazarus was dead at Bethany, He announced that He intended to go there. It was dangerous for Him to go from Galilee to Judea because His enemies there were already set to kill Him.  When Thomas saw that Jesus was willing to take the risk, he said generously to the other apostles, “Let us go along to die with Him,” (John 11:16).

Another one is, when our Lord, during the Last Supper, said that He was about to leave them, but they knew “the way that leads where I go.”  Thomas contradicted Him and he was honest enough to tell the Lord: “Lord, we do not know where you are going.  How can we know the way?”  Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the father but through me,” (John 14:4-6).

But poor St. Thomas, he was always called Doubting Thomas, Didymus and the Twin when in fact he was the only apostle, besides St. Peter, who clearly professed his faith to the Lord: “My Lord and my God!” St. Gregory the Great even said about Thomas: “The disbelief of Thomas has done more for our faith than the belief of the other disciples.”

And so before we call St. Thomas with different names, let us look first at ourselves. We can find that we have also so many doubts especially with our faith. You know I heard so many people who said: “Lord, please give me a sign whether you grant my prayers or not.” Many of us would even doubt if the consecrated host we receive during Mass is really the Body of Christ. Even many of us would not believe what the Church says about dogmas and doctrines, social teachings, current issues like injustices, cruel wars, graft and corruption and so on. If a certain priest or bishop mentions about graft and corruption and other social sins in the pulpit, many of us would say, ‘that’s not his job.’ If we experience sufferings and hardships, we ask: “Where is God in all these sufferings and hardships?”

In today’s Gospel reading Jesus 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,” (v. 27). Here Jesus shows how much He loves his disciples because He gives them another chance, a second chance. This is how Jesus loves us as His disciples. This is how our parents, true friends love us. Jesus takes Thomas as he is and help him to clear his doubt about Jesus’ resurrection so that he may understand, believe and grow in his faith. And so as Jesus’ followers too, it is our call to continue His mission to love, to heal and to bring back to God those who have gone astray.

Another theme is the theme of forgiveness. The power to forgive is the power to give new life and the Church is given this awesome power to participate in this forgiveness especially in the Sacrament of Confession. This is an added dimension of the power that extends in the other Sacraments including Baptism and Eucharist.

Today, as we celebrate the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, let us remember our own failings and doubts. May these weaknesses which God permits us to experience, give us the realization to change and to provide us with a much stronger faith and trust in our Lord Jesus.

See Today’s Readings: Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle

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