Tuesday, July 3, 2007

St. Thomas the Apostle

Today is the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle. Many people feel a special attachment to St. Thomas due to his being known as “Doubting Thomas”. We heard where his nickname comes from in today's Gospel. Many feel that Thomas has gotten a bumb wrap over his moment of doubt, but personally I think it only adds to his story.

The others, having seen Jesus and receiving the Holy Spirit, pleaded with Thomas to "just" believe. But Thomas could only reply:
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
It’s a common thought among the authors I’ve read on the apostles that Thomas was likely caught in the grip of despair, having a hard time dealing with the death of Jesus and losing the faith he once had in him. Thomas, one of the twelve closest to the Savior, had lost his faith.

But it’s easy to forget that Thomas once had an incredible faith in Jesus. When Jesus decides to travel to Judea to visit the ill Lazarus, one of the disciples say to Him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and you want to go back there?” Eight verses later we get a glimpse of this incredible faith:

“So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go to die with him.’”
And it was Thomas’ question before the Last Supper of, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” that moved Jesus to define himself in terms that would echo down through history, “I am the way and the truth and the life.

Like Peter, Thomas was given an opportunity to make up for his unbelief directly of Jesus Himself. After Jesus came to him meet Thomas in the upper room and was given to chance to make good on his promise to believe after placing his hands into Christ’s wounds, he immediately responds with an undoubting and renewed faith in Jesus, “My Lord and my God!”.

Tradition holds that St. Thomas traveled to and evangelized India and Asia Minor. Not much is known beyond the fact that Jesus graciously accepted the earlier offer Thomas made on the way to Judea to “go die with him.” St. Thomas would give his life to pass on the faith that he lost many years ago, given his earthly reward via a spear. (This was before the Health-and-Wealth gospel) Many of us say we can relate to St. Thomas' story of doubtful unbelief, but I hope we can all someday also relate to his story of radical and true faith.

I received a prayer request this morning from a woman in the Parish. She is a wonderful and faithful woman. Her husband who was raised Catholic has since left the faith. The whole story breaks my heart, and I can only imagine how it breaks hers. I’ve never met her husband, but from those I’ve talked with in the past I’m told he is not an angry or mean man. In fact I’m told the opposite.

I see it fitting that a prayer request for this man be made on the feast of St. Thomas. He and St. Thomas; two men formed in truth, two men who lost their faith, and two men, who by the grace of God I pray, have a moment where their disbelief gives way to a true faith worth giving their life for.

St. Thomas, please pray for this family and all the rest of us.

1 comment:

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

St. Thomas is my patron, I relate to that guy like you wouldn't believe! (pun intended) So I will dedicate my midnight adoration to praying for this man that you are writing about.