Wednesday, 3 July 2013 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Scripture Reflection)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us should be happy, indeed, because we have faith in the Lord, even though we do not see Him physically walking with us in this world. Yes, He is with us, all the days of our life, even without us knowing about it. But how faithful are we to the Lord? We live in a world today that is obsessed with things visual and physical, and it is increasingly difficult for many to find God as something tangible in their lives.

St. Thomas did not believe at first because he was not at the meeting when Jesus appeared to His disciples, and the doubt and fear in his heart, which has grown ever since the tragic death of Christ on the cross, prevented him from believing in the Risen Lord, our God and Saviour. Indeed, for a rational man, and a man thinking about the natural order, it is simply impossible and unbelievable that someone could have risen from the dead, much less to appear physically to the living.

And yet, that is the truth that is our faith. Our faith has its core and foundation in our belief in the Christ suffering, Christ crucified, and ultimately, the most important of all, the Risen Christ, the conquering Lord of life and death, and no one has authority over Him, not even death. It is His triumph over death that is the centrepiece of our faith.

If Christ is just a man, and that He died on the cross, then that death would have been a waste, because then He would have ended His ministry in this world short. But the Lord is fully divine just as He is fully human. He is both the Lord our God, Lord of all the universe, and a humble, lowly man at the same time. His death and then His resurrection had opened a new door of hope for mankind. For Christ is the only bridge that bridged the infinite chasm that lie before us and God.

The Lord risen from the dead shows us that death does not have the final say on us. Throughout history, people have been searching for ways to prevent them from dying, and also to extend their life in this world, but they have failed to do so, because ever since the first mankind, death has always claimed all men without exception. Death is the fate and punishment that awaits all of us for breaking our covenant with the Lord, by our disobedience and sinful ways.

God who loves us did not give up on us, but gave us a new hope through Christ, the only hope for salvation. It is only through Christ that we can reach back towards the Lord our God. That is why our faith in Him as our Lord and Saviour is essential for all of us. But this world has been corrupted by evil, and as you noticed, the increasing influence of science and secularisation.

Science itself is not evil, and is indeed good, but it is the underlying principle of science, that championed reason and rationality above all things, and coupled with the great reduction in the influence of God and His Church to many, that brought much harm both to the world and to the Church, and of course, to the people of God.

Secularisation came because mankind began to discover many wonderful discoveries they claim for their own, and they began to question whether God is really present in their lives, and whether He is truly real. Mankind began to look for things that are real and tangible, and something that they can visually see and touch, just as the principles of science, which stated that something had to be proven by tests and reason so that it is the real deal. Because God seemed to be distant and intangible, mankind began to question their faith and walk away from the Lord, just as what happened to St. Thomas, who doubted that the Lord had risen from the dead, because he did not witness His appearing to the disciples.

That is why, it is important for all of us to remain faithful to the Lord. Faith is not just by being able to visually see something and then we believe, but faith involve more than just our vision and our sense of feel and touch, but it involves our hearts and soul. Deep in our hearts, all of us know that the Lord is there. He is real and tangible, through our actions, through our words, when we base them on His teachings. For is it not that God is Love? Yes, exactly as He had commanded us to love, through love, God is made manifest to the world, through the apostles, and through us.

God wants us to love Him, just as He had loved us, to the point of sacrificing Himself on the cross, that through the shedding of His Body and His Blood, we may be cleansed from the filth of sin, and be reunited with Him, in the everlasting bliss of eternal life. This Year of the Faith is a very good opportunity for all of us to renew our commitment to the Lord, so that we will be once again close to Him. St. Thomas’ example is an example of how we should indeed love the Lord even without us seeing Him. What we need is to feel Him through our hearts, through our love, that reflects the nature of God, who is Love.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us renew our resolve to the Lord, that we will be ever more faithful to Him, and ever more loving to Him and to all His children, our brethren. Let us all fall on our knees and worship Him who had given up His life for us so that we may live, and let our faith be an example for all the world to see, that we belong to our God, a God who loves us, cares for us, and is faithful to us, even when we ourselves had been unfaithful and rebellious.

May God grant us the gift of faith, and strengthen the faith in our heart, that the Lord will be ever close to us, in our heart, that we will always be in His grace, forever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Gospel Reading)

John 20 : 24-29

Thomas, the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he replied, “Until I have seen in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in His side, I will not believe.”

Eight days later, the disciples were inside again and Thomas was with them. Despite the locked doors, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see My hands; stretch out your hand, and put it into My side. Do not be an unbeliever! Believe!”

Thomas then said, “You are my Lord and my God.” Jesus replied, “You believe because you see Me, don’t you? Happy are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Wednesday, 3 July 2013 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Psalm)

Psalm 116 : 1, 2

Alleluia! Praise the Lord, all you nations; all you peoples, praise Him.

How great is His love for us! His faithfulness lasts forever.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (First Reading)

Ephesians 2 : 19-22

Now you are no longer strangers or guests, but fellow citizens of the holy people : you are of the household of God. You are the house whose foundations are the apostles and prophets, and whose cornerstone is Christ Jesus.

In Him the whole structure is joined together and rises to be a Holy Temple in the Lord. In Him you too are being built to become the spiritual sanctuary of God.