Thursday, July 02, 2015
July 3rd is the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, the patron saint against doubt. He is also the patron of architects, blind people, builders, construction workers, geometricians, masons, stone masons, stone workers, surveyors, theologians, India, and Pakistan.
St. Thomas is known for three episodes in John's gospel, in which he appears as an individual. In the first, "Thomas who is called the twin, said, 'Let us also go [to Lazarus' house] that we may die with him'." (11:16)
In the second, at the Last Supper, Thomas said to [Jesus], 'Lord, we do not know where we are going. How can we know the way?' "Jesus replied that He is the way, the truth, and the life (14: 5-6).
In the third, one of the best known episodes in the gospels, "doubting Thomas", hiding with the other disciples in a locked house, one of the twelve" was not with them [when Jesus came to show them His wounds and thus convince them of the truth of the resurrection.] So, the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But, he said to them, 'Unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands, and put my finger in His side, I will not believe.' A week later His disciples were shut again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and ... said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt, but believe.' Thomas answered Him, 'My Lord and my God.' " (20: 24a - 8)
Thomas cried out and recognized Jesus as God and he believed and experienced great joy. He sought the truth and found it in Jesus Christ. The disciple who questions and then doubts without the evidence of his senses becomes the only one to make a full confession of faith in Christ's divinity.
The church historian Eusebius supports the idea that St. Thomas went to preach to the Parthians, one of those many nations whose people heard and understood the disciples in what is now Iran. The most persistent tradition is that he went to southern India to preach. Around 72 a.d., he was stabbed with a spear and died a martyr's death near Madras, India.
O Glorious Saint Thomas, your grief for Jesus was such that it would not let you believe He had risen unless you actually saw Him and touched His wounds. But your love for Jesus was equally great and it led you to give up your life for Him. Pray for us that we may grieve for our sins which were the cause of Christ's sufferings. Help us to give ourselves in His service and so earn the title of "blessed" which Jesus applied to those who would believe in Him without seeing Him. Amen.