July 2, 2017

Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle

Christ with St. Thomas in the upper room

July 3rd, is the feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle. Although he initially doubted Jesus' rising, he has become for the Church one of the most compelling witnesses to the Resurrection of Christ. Thomas' skepticism mirrors that of many. May his profession of faith upon touching Our Savior's wounds, "My Lord and my God!", testify to others that Christ's Incarnation, and victory over sin and death are empirically and existentially real. Jesus' reply to Thomas, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me?" Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed," is not a criticism, but a confirmation of the demands of faith.

Among the Apostles, Thomas does not stand out. His knowledge of Jewish scripture and well-formed conscience enabled him to recognize Christ as the Messiah foretold by the Prophets and to follow him as soon as he was called. When Christ traveled the road to Jerusalem to offer himself as a sacrifice for many, Thomas said to the other disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him" (John 11:16). Of Thomas, Pope St. Gregory the Great wrote this reflection:

"Thomas' unbelief has benefited our faith more than the belief of the other disciples; it is because he attained faith through physical touch that we are confirmed in the faith beyond all doubt. Indeed, the Lord permitted the apostle to doubt after the resurrection; but He did not abandon him in doubt. By his doubt and by his touching the sacred wounds the apostle became a witness to the truth of the resurrection. Thomas touched and cried out: My Lord and my God! And Jesus said to him: Because you have seen Me, Thomas, you have believed.

Now if Thomas saw and touched the Savior, why did Jesus say: Because you have seen Me, Thomas, you have believed? Because he saw something other than what he believed. For no mortal man can see divinity. Thomas saw the Man Christ and acknowledged His divinity with the words: My Lord and my God. Faith therefore followed upon seeing."

On the day of Pentecost, Thomas was with the other Apostles when the Holy Spirit descended in tongues of fire. Thomas would bring the Good News to the Medes, Parthians (Iran) and to India. According to tradition, he was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the Church in the sub-continent, after converting numerous tribes to Christianity. Grant, almighty God, that we may follow the example of the blessed Apostle Thomas, so that we may always be sustained by his intercession and, believing, may have life in the name of Jesus Christ your Son, whom Thomas acknowledged as the Lord.

Adapted from the post originally published as "St. Thomas Assures Us of Christ’s Resurrection Beyond Doubt".from last July.

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