Wednesday, 3 July 2019 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast day of one of the Twelve Apostles of Our Lord Jesus Christ, that is St. Thomas the Apostle, known also by his epithet ‘the Twin’ and as St. Thomas Didymus. St. Thomas was famous and well-remembered among the Apostles as the one who doubted the Lord on a few occasions, not believing in what the Lord has taught His disciples and also when He showed Himself to them after He has risen from the dead.

St. Thomas was someone who was a skeptic, sarcastically remarking openly before the disciples when He mentioned that He was going to Judea that all of them were going to die together with Him. He doubted the Lord’s resurrection when he was absent at the time when He appeared among His disciples, and wanted a concrete proof that He has risen from the dead, even to the point of challenging that unless he can put his fingers into the Lord’s wounds and witness them for himself, he would not believe.

In what we have heard in today’s readings, we heard of the lack of faith which St. Thomas once had, when he doubted in the Lord and refused to believe in Him. And we ought to link this with our own life experiences, in how we have lived our own faith thus far. St. Thomas was actually showing the same attitude that many of us have probably often taken throughout our lives, because we do not really believe in God.

Let us ask ourselves, brothers and sisters in Christ, how many times in our lives have we doubted that God is there for us or even feel angry at God because we think that He has not helped us or even thinking that He has abandoned us? How many times is it that we have doubted God’s presence just because we perceive that He is not around, or that we cannot feel His presence or because He does not seem to respond to our pleas and desires?

If we have done all of these, then we have to take note that it is this same attitude which St. Thomas the Apostle has also done. The Lord wants us all to know that He is in fact with us at all the time, and He will never abandon us because of the great love which He actually has for each and every one of us. If we do not get what we want, it was not because God is not there for us or that He does not listen to us, but everything in this world occurs and happens according to God’s will ultimately. We cannot have our own way all the time.

That is why it is very important that we have faith in us, this genuine and strong faith that the Apostles had shown in their own examples and lives. In the case of St. Thomas himself, despite his earlier doubts and lack of faith, having witnessed and I am sure he must have been quite embarrassed by the experience as mentioned in the Gospel today, when the Lord gently rebuked him for his lack of faith, he became a firm believer and a courageous witness for his faith in God.

St. Thomas went to a few places spreading the Good News, and eventually went to the region that is now the southern parts of India where he preached to the locals and converted quite a few among them, which became the progenitors of the Christian communities there, known colloquially as ‘St. Thomas Christians’ to show the great contributions that this Apostle has given for his love and faith for God.

He was eventually martyred for his courageous defence and witness for his faith, and we can see the tremendous change from such a doubter and someone who had a shaky faith, into a firm believer and faithful servant who served God unto his death in martyrdom. Such an example should be an inspiration for each and every one of us that we may grow in faith and love for God from now onwards.

May the Lord continue to guide us and bless us, that each and every one of us may always be blessed by the light of His presence, and be empowered and strengthened just as He has strengthened His Apostles. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 20 : 24-29

At that time, Thomas, the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with the other Eleven 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 again inside the house and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, 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 continue in your unbelief, but believe!”

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

Wednesday, 3 July 2019 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 116 : 1, 2

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

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

Wednesday, 3 July 2019 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

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.

Sunday, 28 April 2019 : Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 19-31

At that time, on the evening of the day when Jesus rose from the dead, the first day after the Sabbath, the doors were locked where the disciples were, because of their fear of the Jews. But Jesus came, and stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you!” Then He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples kept looking at the Lord and were full of joy.

Again Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.” After saying this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit! Those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; those whose sins you retain, they are retained.”

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 the 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, do you not? Happy are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

There were many other signs that Jesus gave in the presence of His disciples, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded, so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Believe, and you will have life through His Name!

Tuesday, 3 July 2018 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, one of the Twelve Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, also known as St. Thomas Didymus or St. Thomas the Twin. St. Thomas was well remembered in the Gospels as the Apostle who doubted the Lord Jesus on more than one occasion. The first time was when the Lord Jesus wanted to go to Jerusalem again after the chief priests and the Pharisees had sought out to arrest Him, and St. Thomas sarcastically remarked that indeed, the Apostles and disciples should all follow the Lord Jesus, to their own deaths.

And then, on the more well-remembered occasion, as we heard in our Gospel passage today, St. Thomas refused to believe that the Lord Jesus had appeared to them after He has risen from the dead. He adamantly and stubbornly said that unless he was able to tangibly prove that the Lord did indeed exist in the flesh and body, then he would not believe in Him.

When the Lord Jesus appeared in person before St. Thomas and the other disciples, showing the truth of His resurrection from the dead, and even challenging him to do what he had said he would do, that is to put his fingers into the wounds made by the nails on His hands and feet, St. Thomas was dumbfounded, and on his knees, acknowledged with faith, that it was indeed the Lord risen from the dead, his Lord and Master.

Today, all of us reflect on this stubbornness and lack of faith which St. Thomas had exhibited in his life. Now, we ought to look at our own lives, and evaluate whether we have also followed in the examples shown by St. Thomas in his lack of faith, doubt and refusal to believe in the Lord’s truth. Have we also doubted the Lord and His love, or complained that God has not been there for us?

This is something that many of us commonly said, when we were disappointed or even angry at God, for we often wrongly thought that God refused to listen to our prayers, or that He did not listen to our prayers. Then we ended up even doubting whether God was really present. We failed to realise that, first of all, our prayers are not means for us to demand that God must do something for us. Instead, prayer is truly a way for us to know what is God’s will for us.

Let us now take a look at the first reading passage we heard today, from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Ephesus. In that passage, we heard about the comparison which St. Paul made between our body and physical existence with the Temple and House of God. In another occasion in his Epistle, St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, reminding them that they are the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

And hence, all of us are the Temples of God’s Holy Presence, especially because we have received the Lord Himself, in His Body and Blood, His Real Presence through the Eucharist. And God is always present in us, for all of us are created by God, and God is present in His Spirit inside each and every one of us. The Lord Jesus once walked physically with His disciples on this world, but now that after He had ascended into heaven, we can no longer see Him physically, but many of us did not realise that He is still always present, with us and within us. That is why we also end up like how St. Thomas was initially.

And why is that so? That is because in our daily lives, we are often so busy with our various preoccupations, and all sorts of noises coming from the world, from our career, from our relationships and merrymaking, from our pursuits of wealth, power, influence, fame and all sorts of other worldly enjoyments. We are simply too distracted and too preoccupied with all the noises of the world, that we were not able to recognise the Lord speaking deep within our hearts.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is up to us whether we want to remain in this state, or whether we want to follow in the footsteps of St. Thomas the Apostle, who went on his knees, and acknowledged that the Lord was there, his God, Master and Saviour, with all of his hearts, despite the long time it took for him to recognise that fact. The same applies to us as well, brethren, as it may also take us a long time before we recognise this truth, but eventually, we must strive towards this state of faith.

In the end, St. Thomas would go on to preach the Good News and wholeheartedly devoted himself to the cause of the Lord. There was no longer doubt that was once filling his heart and mind. He went on to many places, especially to India, where he preached the faith and converted quite a number among the local populace, who were known thenceforth as ‘St. Thomas Christians’, descendants of which are still present today in parts of India, holding faithfully to the truth in God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us ought to follow in the footsteps of St. Thomas, in the journey of faith, and the dedication which he had, that he persevered through all the challenges and the oppositions, to accept martyrdom while defending his faith in God. We have seen how he was transformed from someone who doubted and lacked faith into a true servant of God. The same should also happen to us all.

Let us all therefore seek the Lord from now on, with all of our hearts, devoting our time, effort and attention to serve Him. And we should hence open our hearts and minds to the Lord, by quieting ourselves down and spending more time with God through prayer. Let us do this, brothers and sisters, deepening our relationship with Our God, that we may truly, indeed, be able to follow in the footsteps of the Holy Apostles, in our ever increasing devotion and love to God and to our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord. May God be with us all, and bless us all in our endeavours. Amen.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 20 : 24-29

At that time, Thomas, the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with the other Eleven 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 again inside the house and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, 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 continue in your unbelief, but believe!”

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