Double of the II Class (1955 Calendar): December 21
Today we remember the apostle Thomas, called Doubting Thomas. In earlier section of the Gospel, St. Thomas said that he would go to Jerusalem to die with Jesus if needed. But, like the other apostles, he too left the Lord when the time came for the Crucifixion. And, after the Lord's Resurrection, St. Thomas is best known for doubting the Lord's Resurrection. While the disciples were in the upper room, the Lord appeared to them and ate with them. However, St. Thomas was not with them.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
(Jesus) said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "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."
All of us also experience some form of dryness in the spiritual life or doubting that our prayers will be heard. The words of St. Thomas, as many saints have taught, is incredibly helpful for our salvation. The exclamation of Thomas: "My Lord and My God" is one of the chief pieces of Scriture used to refute the heresy of Arianism. In those situations of spiritual dryness we should keep in mind the words of Thomas and Our Lord's reply to Him:
Now 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!" Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."
Even though St. Thomas was not with the apostles when they received the power to forgive sins, he did receive that power. That leads many scholars to admit that the apostles passed the power down to him through the imposition of hands. This same power has been passed down even until the present era. Our bishops and priests have that power because of Jesus Christ. If you have never gone to Confession, I highly encourage you to experience the greatest source of forgiveness on this earth in the confessional.
St. Thomas, after the events recorded in the Gospel, went off to preach the Gospel in India as Our Lord commanded: "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age" (Mt 28:18-20).
St. Thomas went out and preached in Parthia, Persia and India, even though he was reluctant to start the mission because he had to be taken into slavery by a merchant heading that way. Finally he submitted himself to God's will and was freed from the slavery soon. He formed many parishes and built many churches along the way. He is called the Apostle of India. Let us realize that we too are called to serve the Catholic Church and spread the Gospel. St. Thomas, the doubting apostle, eventually laid down his life for Jesus Christ. Our love for Christ must also be that great.
While in India, St. Thomas witnessed a group of people desperately trying to remove a post from the earth. With ease, St. Thomas removed it and thrust it back into the ground saying that water shall never again pass the point. Atop the post now stands Santhome Cathedral. And, quite miraculously, when the Tsunami of 2004 hit and destroyed much of the buildings in Chennai, the water stopped at the steps of the Cathedral. The miracle of St. Thomas is still alive.
St. Thomas the Apostle died c.72 in India after being stabbed with a spear.
Give us, O Lord, we beseech Thee, a share in the glory of today's festival of Thy blessed Apostle Thomas: and grant that we may be uplifted by his patronage and drawn with fitting devotion to equal him in faith. Through our Lord.
Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal