03 Jul – Feast of St Thomas, Apostle
Nothing is known for certain about the life of St Thomas, apart from the Gospel account. Tradition holds that he preached the Gospel in India.
– The Weekday Missal
You are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household. You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ Jesus himself for its main cornerstone. As every structure is aligned on him, all grow into one holy temple in the Lord; and you too, in him, are being built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit.
Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him:
‘You believe because you can see me.
Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’
You are no longer aliens or foreign visitors; you are citizens like all the saints
Recently in the news, our Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew spoke about how immigrants are coming to Singapore and adopting our values of having fewer children. When they watch their neighbours and see that if they have two children, they will lose out because each child costs so much in terms of fees for kindergarten, ballet classes, music classes…, and they come to realise that in Singapore, it is better to settle for one child.
Many of us reading this are citizens living in our own country. We do not understand what it means to be immigrants living in a country that we are not born. But when we look at our spiritual life, we get a sense of what it means to be an immigrant.
In God’s family, all who are baptised in the name of the Trinity become citizens of God’s kingdom, part of God’s household. We have the same rights as everyone else, and with the same rights come the same responsibilities.
Our citizenship is not based on our knowledge of God’s kingdom, nor is it based on how long we have lived here. It is based on only one thing, that is our faith in Jesus Christ, our relationship with Him. The closer we are to Him, the better we realise our responsibilities and the gifts that He has given us to live them out.
In today’s gospel reading, we see St. Thomas refusing to believe that Jesus has risen. Jesus, on His part, did whatever He could to enable Thomas to believe in the Resurrection. The Lord appeared before Thomas in flesh and blood and allowed Thomas to put his finger into the holes in His hands, and his hand into His side.
In the same way, Jesus does whatever He can to help us to believe in Him. This is not because He wants to prove sceptics wrong, but because He wants to help us to live out our responsibilities as God’s children. It is very hard to not believe and do the things that are required of us. If we do not believe, we are not motivated to live by faith. But if we believe, things can change in an unbelievable way.
It is not only God that helps us to believe, but also our fellow citizens. As brothers and sisters in God’s household, it is our responsibility to help our fellow brethren in times that their faith is failing. Just as immigrants in Singapore look to their neighbours and adopt their values, so too do Christians look to their Christian brethren and adopt their values.
Let us take a few moments to ponder about how my life as a Christian is helping or not helping other Christians to live a life of faith.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Daniel Tay)
Prayer: Dear Lord, I want to believe. Please help my unbelief. Amen.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for the gift of faith.