Saint Thomas doubted, then lived and died for the faith
Reflections on the readings for the Feast of St. Thomas (July 3, 2021): EPH 2:19-22; PS 117:1-2; JN 20:24-29
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On this feast of St. Thomas, we see the immense love that Christ has for each of us reflected in His concern for the Apostle who doubted His Resurrection.
While the other Apostles had seen Jesus on the evening of Easter Sunday, Thomas was absent. Then, when they all insisted that our Lord had truly risen from the dead, he said that he would not belief without the proof of his own eyes in seeing His wounds and the proof of his own fingers in touching them. In one of the best-known exchanges in the Gospels between Jesus and one of His followers, we hear: “A week later His disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see My hands, and bring your hand and put it into My side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe. Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (John 20:26-28) This expression is one of complete faith in Jesus – not only in His rising from the dead, but also in His divinity. The encounter reveals Christ’s compassion for this friend and follower who, like the other Apostles, except John, ran away from Him during His Passion. And, like Peter who denied Christ, Thomas also showed a lack of loyalty. Jesus could have left Thomas to believe in Him or not, to stay or go. Instead, He offered this man with his doubts the opportunity to respond wholeheartedly from the depth of his soul.
St. Thomas lived his belief in our Lord for the rest of his life. He went out to preach the Good News just as the other Apostles did. His travels took him to India where he founded a Christian community that has lasted all these centuries. It is believed that Thomas died a martyr there, possibly by being speared. The faith that he ultimately embraced so unreservedly was his to the end. Thomas mattered to our Lord just as each of us do. We have not known Him in the way the Apostles did. We have not heard His words or seen His miracles, or spoken with Him. But the gift of faith is ours if we choose it.