Saturday, 3 July 2021 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of one of Our Lord’s Twelve Apostles, namely St. Thomas the Apostle, also known as Thomas Didymus or the Twin, and as we may have known quite well, that he was one who often doubted the Lord and even publicly questioned His decisions and actions. Yet, later on he would become one of the Lord’s most fervent evangelisers and workers of faith, dying as a martyr in a distant land and glorifying the Lord.

St. Thomas was always the most skeptical among the Lord’s disciples, as he did not appear to fully trust in the Lord, and was pessimistic when the Lord wanted to go to Jerusalem to fulfil His mission, despite the advice against doing so by His disciples. St. Thomas publicly said before all of them that, in a rather sarcastic way, they should all follow the Lord so that they could also suffer with Him and die along with Him.

When the Lord was risen from the dead, St. Thomas happened to be not among the other disciples, and did not witness the Lord appearing for the first time in His Risen glory before all the other disciples. And we heard from our Gospel passage today, how St. Thomas again refused to believe and even then publicly declared before the other disciples how he would not believe unless he could prove that the Risen Lord is truly the same One crucified, by touching His wounds and putting his hand into the Lord’s pierced side.

And the Lord then appeared again before all the disciples and St. Thomas included, and asked him directly to do as he said he would do to prove that the Lord had indeed risen from the dead. From what we have heard in the Gospel passage, we can clearly see how dumbfounded and surprised St. Thomas was, as his doubt was proven to be wrong, and the Lord Himself appeared in the flesh before him. He humbled himself utterly and proclaimed before all, ‘My Lord and my God.’

These are the same words that we utter whenever the Lord’s Most Precious Body and Blood in the Eucharist are elevated and raised in the most solemn occasion, as the celebrant uttered the words of consecration, proclaiming the presence of the Lord before all the faithful, truly present in the bread and wine which the priest, by the power and authority of the Lord, had transformed completely into the matter, essence and reality of the Lord’s own Holy Body and Blood.

Then, do we all recall the Lord’s words after St. Thomas uttered those words? He said, ‘Happy are those who believe because they have seen, but even happier and more blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believed.’ This is truly significant for us because, while we have not seen the Lord in the human form as the disciples like St. Thomas had seen, but we still believe that the Eucharist is the Lord Himself, in the flesh, the Real Presence of Our Lord.

Yet, there are also still so many of us who doubted this truth, and many of us who refused to believe in the Real Presence, especially among some of our separated brethren in faith. And within the Church, there are sadly still many of those who outwardly profess to believe in the Real Presence of God in the Eucharist, but behaved in the manner that is contradictory to that belief, in how they treated the Eucharist, by receiving the Eucharist in an unworthy state, or treating it as no more than just mere bread and wine, without proper decorum, respect and honour, less still worship and adoration.

Then in that manner, we are also no better than how St. Thomas was before he turned wholeheartedly to the Lord at the moment when he fully acknowledged Him as his Lord and Master. And now, we are called to reflect on our own attitudes in life, and also our perception and attitude towards the Lord in the Eucharist. Have we been truly faithful to the Lord? Or have we allowed our doubts and lack of faith and understanding of this faith to mislead us and make us to doubt the Lord and His truth and love for us?

Many of us often do not realise that we are doing exactly what St. Thomas had been doing in doubting the Lord earlier in his life, by our own lack of reverence and adoration for the Holy Eucharist, as well as our own sinful and wayward lifestyle, in contrast with the righteousness of God. We are often stubborn in walking down the path of sin rather than the path of righteousness. This is why, we should then be like St. Thomas, who turned away from his doubts and embraced the Lord wholeheartedly.

He would go on to preach the Christian faith in many places, most famously and significantly in what is now the southern regions of India, where he established the firm foundations of Christian communities there, which lasted till this very day, often known as the ‘St. Thomas Christians’. He brought God’s truth to all these people, and revealed Him to them so that through this, more and more people can be saved from their sins and wicked ways. St. Thomas would suffer and die a martyr’s death in the end of his missionary journey, obedient and faithful to the very end.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us also therefore cast off the shade and veil of doubt from our eyes and from our minds, and from our hearts. Let us entrust ourselves fully from now on to the Lord, and commit ourselves, each and every moments of our lives, that we may always walk in the path of His light and truth, and we may always be faithful and righteous in all things, that everyone who see us and witness our works and actions, will know that we belong to the Lord and that God lives within us.

May God bless us always and may He remain with us in our journey of faith and life. May He strengthen each one of us with courage and hope, to endure and persevere through the challenges and trials we are facing daily, for His sake, and for the greater glory of His Name. Amen.

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