3 July 2019 – Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle
Thomas (d. 72) was ready to die with Jesus when Christ went to Jerusalem, but he is best remembered for doubting the Resurrection until allowed to touch Christ’s wounds. He preached in Parthia, Persia and India, though he was so reluctant to start the mission that he had to be taken into slavery by a merchant headed that way.
He eventually gave in to God’s will, was freed, and planted the new Church over a wide area. He formed many parishes and built many churches along the way. An old tradition says that Thomas baptised the wise men from the Nativity into Christianity.
His symbol is the builder’s square. There are several stories that explain it:
- he built a palace for King Guduphara in India
- he built the first church in India with his own hands
- it is representative of building a strong spiritual foundation as he had complete faith in Christ (though initially less in the Resurrection)
- he offered to build a palace for an Indian king that would last forever; the king gave him money, which Thomas promptly gave away to the poor; he explained that the palace he was building was in heaven, not on earth.
Patron Saint Index
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:
Blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe!
“Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” These words which Jesus said to Thomas have always struck me, because over two thousand years ago, Jesus was talking about us, today! Indeed this is the mystery of our faith.
I am reminded of a homily I heard during the recent Feast of Corpus Christi. The priest shared that the uniqueness of our Catholic faith, is the belief in the true presence of Jesus. The transubstantiation, where the bread and wine offered in the Eucharistic Celebration becomes, in reality, the body and blood of Jesus Christ, is one of the greatest mysteries of our faith that cannot be explained easily. But God, from time to time, sends miracles to remind us of the truth so that we may believe. Incidences where the host began to bleed and turn into flesh have been witnessed; scientists have tested samples of the hosts and found that it came from human tissue. These miracles too seem hard to believe, but for those who witnessed it, are able to know with certainty that it is indeed true.
Similarly, with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, in particular, the gift of tongues. Those who don’t have the gift,may cast doubt on those babbling strangely, whether it truly is from the Holy Spirit, or if it just merely a human act. Only those with the gift are able to know, with certainty, that the movement of their tongue is not their own, but truly from God. The rest of us who don’t have the gift are only able to just have faith and believe.
Sometimes, God shows himself in these real tangible ways to the hardest of hearts, because without it, they will have difficulty believing, just like a doubting Thomas. And there are those who are able to be contented with simple faith, seeing God in everything.
We can be assured though, God meets us where we are. God knows what we need and He shows himself to us in different and unique ways.
(Today’s Oxygen by Kristel Wang)
Prayer: Dear Jesus, help us to always hold strong to the faith, especially when it is difficult.
Thanksgiving: Thank you, Heavenly Father, for you are always watching over us. Amen.