July 3: The Feast of the Apostle Saint Thomas, The Apostle of India

PC  THOMAS: On July 3, the Church honors the solemn feast of St. Thomas the Apostle.  The auspicious occasion marks the remembrance of the patron Saint Thomas who was among the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ who appears in the gospel.   He is the closet follower of the Christ, having doubts about Jesus. His disbelief helps us understand how important the gift of faith is.

The Gospel of John records three statements of St. Thomas that gives glimpses of his character.  First, when Jesus desires to go to Bethany, bordering Jerusalem, the other disciples try to prevent him from going, since he was almost stoned there for claiming kinship with God.  Thomas, however, sticks by Jesus, and says, ?Let us go that we may die with Him? (John 11:16), which shows Thomas? courage and his commitment to Jesus.

Second, when Jesus announces his imminent death and assures his disciples that he will prepare a place for them, he adds, ?You know the way to the place where I?m going?.  Thomas answers candidly, ?Lord we do not know where you are going, then how can we know the way??(John 14:15). This prompts Jesus to reply, ?I am the way?.

The third statement sees in John 20:23, which caused Thomas to be remembered as the ?Doubting Thomas? It reads:- On the evening of Jesus? resurrection, Thomas was not with the other disciples in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, so he was not present when Jesus appeared to them and showed them the wounds on his hands and his side.  Later, the other Apostle told Thomas. ?We have seen the Lord? (John 20:25) when Thomas uttered, ?unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, put my finger into the holes and lay my hand into his side, I will not believe? (John 20:25).

A week later, Jesus again came to the Apostle.  After wishing them peace, Jesus called Thomas and told him to look at his hands, put his finger into the holes and to touch his side. Thomas was grieved that he had doubted Jesus? resurrection.  He cries out: ?My Lord, My God?.  Then Jesus said, ?Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed?.

The surrender of Thomas ?My Lord and my God? is the clearest affirmation of the divinity of Christ that any of the apostles ever gave.  This, then, is the substance of the Thomas? faith:- he believed and proclaimed the divinity of Christ, and became  a devout defender of the faith something which none of the other apostles had yet done.  This is the great example today for many of us because we doubt.

We honour St. Thomas as Saint, he is considered to be the Patron Saint of India. His life teaches us to trust in everything the Lord has promised us so that we, the faithful can rise to new life, as Jesus did.

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