“Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25)
Today, we remember one of the Twelve Apostles Jesus called who was part of the foundation of the great Christian movement that has continued to spread across the world today; St. Thomas the Apostle. The name ‘Thomas’ has become synonymous with doubt even to the point of being featured in commercial adverts. You easily hear people say: “Don’t be a Thomas” meaning “don’t live in doubt.” As much as this is true, it does not tell the whole story.
Note that all the books of the Bible were written with one intention: “so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31). In other words, the reason this passage exists is not to mock Thomas but to make us increase our faith in Jesus.
Dear friends, our greatest attention must be focused on what Jesus said at the conclusion of this narrative: “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe.” (John 20:29). To have faith in God even in the absence of signs and wonders, to believe even when prayers are not answered is a great blessing in itself. And as one saint would add, the reward of such faith is to eventually see those things that we believe.
St. Paul in today’s first reading gives us a clue about our identity as Christians when he says that we are citizens with the saints and members of God’s household built upon the foundation of apostles and prophets. As a child of God, think of yourself as part of a building (a holy temple), the house of God where the apostles (including St. Thomas) are part of the foundation.
St. Thomas may be remembered for doubting but he remains a part of the foundation of our Christian Faith. In fact, from his lips come the profession of faith: “My Lord and My God.” This remained his firm conviction for the rest of his life. History has it that at the dispersal of the Apostles after Pentecost, Thomas went on to evangelize to the Parthians, Medes, and Persians; he ultimately reached India, carrying the Faith to the Malabar coast, which still boasts a large native population calling themselves “Christians of St. Thomas.” Thomas was steadfast to the end even to the point of accepting martyrdom for the sake of the Gospel. He is the patron of architects.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, deepen my faith in you especially when I can’t see signs. Amen.
Bible Study: Ephesians 2:19-22, Psalm 117:1-2. John 20:24-29).