The Roman Catholic Church celebrates July 3 as the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle of Jesus. We remember him as a doubting disciple only because he chose to be a fool for Christ! Scripture records a few instances about St. Thomas. Firstly, when Jesus announced His intention of returning to Judea to visit Lazarus who was seriously ill, despite the threats to His life, Thomas also known as the Twin, said to his fellow disciples “Let us also go, that we may die with him [Jesus]” (John 11:16). Then again, at the Last Supper, when Jesus says, “You know the way where I am going.” It was Thomas who innocently said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going; how can we know the way?” (John 14:5). Lastly, after the Resurrection when Christ appeared to the apostles, Thomas who was not with them refused to believe that the Lord had risen.
He was one apostle who took the phrase, ‘Seeing is believing’ seriously. He exclaims, “Unless I have seen in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger in the marks of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” Thomas loved the Lord so much that he not only wanted to see Him but also touch Him. He wanted the assurance of his faith. We cannot blame St. Thomas for refusing to believe what the other disciples had told him about the resurrected Lord. According to him, if they had encountered the Risen Lord, why were they still behind closed doors. Why were they yet afraid to profess their faith? Were they not an Easter people?
Eight days later the frightened lot, were inside locked doors, only this time Thomas made sure he was with them. The Lord appeared, and addressed Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands; stretch out your hand and put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe” (John 20:27). The Lord knew Thomas’ desire; He lets him have a first hand experience of touching the imprints. The apostle is so awe-struck with this encounter of the Risen Lord, that his declaration of faith in Christ, “My Lord and My God” becomes a prayer of adoration at the elevation of the Holy Eucharist during Mass.
Pope St. Gregory says, “Thomas’ doubt healed the wounds of all of our doubts.” Nevertheless, we may yet have doubts, and it is all right to question our faith. Along with the Bible, every Catholic
St Thomas understood that, “Christ is not a treasure meant for us alone; he is the most precious treasure we have, one that is meant to be shared with others.” Thomas is believed to be the only original disciple to preach outside the boundaries of the Roman Empire. He may have started-off as a doubter, but his life changed with that single 'Resurrected' encounter! His missionary work took him as far as the shores of India where later, he was martyred with spears whilst praying on a hill in Mylapur, Southern India around 72 A.D.
Thomas lived for Christ and died spreading the Gospel. I pray that each one of us may live as worthy witnesses to the reality of the Risen Lord and that we may never shudder in the profession of our faith in Him. Amen