ST. THOMAS, THE APOSTLE.
- Thomas’ absence during Our Lord’s 1st appearance was not a pure accident but rather falls within Divine Providence. His doubt was an additional opportunity to demonstrate that Jesus’ Risen Body is for real. As St. Gregory the Great said: “It was not an accident; God arranged that it should happen. His clemency acted in this wonderful way so that through the doubting disciple touching the wounds in his Master’s body, our own wounds of incredulity might be healed… And so the disciple, doubting and touching, was changed into a witness of the truth of the Resurrection” (In Evangelia homiliae, 26, 7).
- “My Lord and my God!” It is not a mere exclamation of surprise but rather a wonderful declaration, a marvelous act of faith of Thomas in the divinity of Jesus Christ, which for us can be an act of faith as well especially before the real presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.
- Faith involves the “conviction of things which are unseen (Heb 11:1)”. Our Lord told Thomas as well: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe (Jn 20:29).” Our Lord asks from us this firmness in faith, not founded on senses nor on mere sentimentality, but on the humility of the mind and heart to accept what He had revealed and transmitted to us, knowing that as God, He can neither deceive nor be deceived.
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VIDEO COMMENTARY ON TODAY’S GOSPEL
TOPIC 1: IS THERE A BIT OF A DOUBTING THOMAS IN YOU?
Today is the feast day of Saint Thomas the Apostle more commonly known as the Doubting Thomas. Jesus had to show Himself twice to His apostles, particularly to Thomas, to prove that His resurrection was no hoax.
The profession of our faith is hinged on the words of Jesus to him: “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” (John 20:29).
We all have a little bit of Thomas in each one of us.
TOPIC 2: How do you respond to people who
doubt you and accuse you of being untruthful?
The most Rev. Robert Runcie, retired Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote in his book, Seasons of the Spirit, that he once got on a train in England and discovered that all of the other passengers in the car were patients at a mental institution being taken on an excursion.
A mental hospital attendant was counting patients to be sure that they were all there: “One, two, three, four, five…”. When he came to Archbishop Runcie, he said, “Who are you?” “I am the Archbishop of Canterbury,” Rev. Runcie replied. The attendant smiled and, pointing to him, continued counting, “…six, seven, eight…”
Imagine yourself in front of Jesus on that day when He shows up, with you still in a state of doubt that He has actually risen. Instead of getting angry at you, Jesus gently invites you to touch His wounds.
Jesus showed compassion even if Thomas doubted Him. His compassion is borne out expressing to us that to doubt is alright. It does not mean we have no faith. Doubt must be like the rays of the sun that lead to the source. God wants us to come to Him so that He may touch our wounds and heal them. When we seek Him, He appears and satisfies our hungering faith.
It is alright then to doubt for as long as we use that emotion to fuel our desire to know more about our faith. Someone once said, “It’s not as a child that I believe and confess Jesus Christ. My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt.”
It would be unfair to give Thomas though the nickname “Doubting Thomas.” It was not just him who showed doubt of Christ’s resurrection. All the apostles did. When Mary Magdalene came to tell them what happened on her visit to the tomb, they would not believe it (Mark 16:11). Perhaps, it was only Thomas that reacted excessively. His outburst was what was recorded by John in his writings.
We often react in ways not similar to Jesus when people doubt us. We become angry, forget proper decorum and be rude or abrasive. This can create tension when people doubt our stories and statements. We feel untrusted, branded as a liar and accused of peddling untruths.
Anger becomes the fuel for bitterness and resentment, broken relationships and disunity. We can turn to the example of Jesus in showing us what holiness truly means. Instead of berating Thomas for his unbelief, Jesus guides Thomas’ hands to His wounds.
Jesus shows us how we can better understand one another by reaching out with compassion and calm. In the heat of the moment, we may not be able to muster the will and the strength to be level-headed, patient and loving when we are doubted. It may need Jesus to be involved. And that’s why we must never forget to be prayerful, asking for the graces we need to be holy.
The same applies to the doubter who may have pre-judged and condemned the other person. When we are overcome with doubt on people around us, we must collect ourselves and endeavor to reach out to understand and to clear the air.
When we also start to doubt our God in our pain and suffering, let us repeat the beautiful words of Thomas, one of the best expressions of faith ever recorded – “My Lord and my God.” The beauty of our doubt is when it is channeled to finding what we have lost. When discovering it, we come to believe. We believe not because we see. We believe because we have seen with our hearts.
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