The Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle

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About the Saint:

Saint Thomas, called Didymus, that is “the twin,” was probably a Galilean of lowly condition and a fisherman. He was chosen to be one of the apostles in the year 31, as can be determined from the mention of his name in the catalogue of the apostles in St. Matthew. He is reputed to have been slow of understanding and little acquainted with secular learning. When Jesus was about to go to the neighborhood of Jerusalem in order to raise Lazarus from the dead the other apostles tried to dissuade Him, lest the Jews stone Him. But in his enthusiastic love St. Thomas exclaimed, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him!” Again, it was at the Last Supper that the Savior said: “And whither I go you know, and the way you know.” To this St. Thomas, burning with an ardent desire to follow the Master said, “Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way?” To which Our Lord replied with the beautiful words, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by Me.”

In the Gospel for today the response of Jesus to the doubt which Thomas had expressed concerning His resurrection is related, with the answer of Thomas, “My Lord and my God.” St. Thomas is said to have planted the standard of the cross among the Medes, Persians, and neighboring nations. He is called the Apostle of India. He is said to have been slain for the faith at Calamina in India; and there is a legend to the effect that he was executed by the sword or by a lance.

Collect of the Day:

Grant us, we beseech You, O Lord, to glory in the solemn festival of blessed Thomas, Your apostle, that we may both be helped continually by his patronage and imitate his faith with befitting devotion. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God
Forever and ever. Amen.

Todays Readings:

The First reading:    Ephesians 2:19 – 22

You are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household. You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ Jesus himself for its main cornerstone. As every structure is aligned on him, all grow into one holy temple in the Lord; and you too, in him, are being built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit.

The Gospel:    John 20:24 – 29

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him:
‘You believe because you can see me.
Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’

Reading From a homily on the Gospels by Saint Gregory the Great, pope
My Lord and my God
Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. He was the only disciple absent; on his return he heard what had happened but refused to believe it. The Lord came a second time; he offered his side for the disbelieving disciple to touch, held out his hands, and showing the scars of his wounds, healed the wound of his disbelief.
Dearly beloved, what do you see in these events? Do you really believe that it was by chance that this chosen disciple was absent, then came and heard, heard and doubted, doubted and touched, touched and believed? It was not by chance but in God’s providence. In a marvellous way God’s mercy arranged that the disbelieving disciple, in touching the wounds of his master’s body, should heal our wounds of disbelief. The disbelief of Thomas has done more for our faith than the faith of the other disciples. As he touches Christ and is won over to belief, every doubt is cast aside and our faith is strengthened. So the disciple who doubted, then felt Christ’s wounds, becomes a witness to the reality of the resurrection.
Touching Christ, he cried out: My Lord and my God. Jesus said to him: Because you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed. Paul said: Faith is the guarantee of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. It is clear, then, that faith is the proof of what can not be seen. What is seen gives knowledge, not faith. When Thomas saw and touched, why was he told: You have believed because you have seen me? Because what he saw and what he believed were different things. God cannot be seen by mortal man. Thomas saw a human being, whom he acknowledged to be God, and said: My Lord and my God. Seeing, he believed; looking at one who was true man, he cried out that this was God, the God he could not see.
What follows is reason for great joy: Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed. There is here a particular reference to ourselves; we hold in our hearts one we have not seen in the flesh. We are included in these words, but only if we follow up our faith with good works. The true believer practises what he believes. But of those who pay only lip service to faith, Paul has this to say: They profess to know God, but they deny him in their works. Therefore James says: Faith without works is dead.

Closing Prayer:

O merciful God, do You abide with us, and, with the blessed apostle Thomas interceding for us, mercifully watch over Your gifts made for our welfare. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who lives and reigns, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God
For ever and ever. Amen.

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