03 July 2012

Faithful Thomas

Homily for the Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle
July 3

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle. It is rather unfortunate that historical consciousness has distilled his memory to a moment of doubt. Whence came the expression "doubting Thomas". Yet he is without a doubt a man of faith, whose witnessing has subsequently inspired and strengthened the faith of millions throughout history.

The prominent accounts of St. Thomas in the Gospel of John always seem to lead to the most enduring and powerful affirmations who Jesus Christ is.

In Jn 11,16, responding to Jesus' decision to attend to His friend Lazarus who was ill and later found to have died a few days already, in spite of great risk to His safety, Thomas would say: "Let us also go, that we may die with Him." His willingness to follow Jesus even unto death led to their witnessing of Jesus' manifestation of His power over death by raising Lazarus from the dead, and of His self-revelation: "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies shall live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die" (Jn 11,25-26).

In Jn 14,5, Thomas' wish for a clearer teaching from Jesus led him to ask: “Lord, we do not know where you are going, how can we know the way?” To which Jesus promptly replied: "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me" (Jn 14,6).

In Jn 20, in the account of Jesus' post-resurrection appearances, Thomas' famous line earned him his infamous distinction: “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (20,25) But it was also used by Jesus to teach the world the great truth about Himself through the very confession of Thomas: "My Lord and my God!" (20,28).

St. Thomas becomes for us a companion in our journey of faith, a journey that always seem to have moments of doubt and fear. The faith and trust in Jesus that he manifests, especially when things are unclear and uncertain, is not unlike the faith and trust that the Psalmist and Job manifest even as they cry unto the Lord; in the end they would affirm the goodness and faithfulness of God, not based on some vague hope for a future that would eventually get better but on eyes and hearts that have actually seen and felt God's undeniable providence and love.

St. Thomas, strengthen our faith and open our eyes to the reality of God's love so that like you, we too may become faithful and passionate bearers of the Good News who is Christ Himself and the salvation He won for us. Amen.

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