Monday, 3 July 2017 : 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 one of the Holy Apostles, namely St. Thomas the Apostle, known also as the Twin and who was famous for his doubt of the Lord’s resurrection, and wanted a proof of it before he believed in Jesus, the Risen Christ. He had always been the skeptical one among the Apostles, as he sarcastically remarked when the Lord Jesus was about to go to Jerusalem for the final time before His Passion and death, that ‘let us all follow Him to our death!’.

We may be wondering, why did Jesus call St. Thomas to be His Apostle, to be the one to whom He entrusted His Church, if this Apostle of His has doubted Him so much and had been so skeptical about Him? But that is where we need to realise that when God called His disciples and Apostles, He called all those whom He deemed to be worthy, and not those who have deemed themselves to be worthy and faithful.

Let us ask ourselves, are we not the same as St. Thomas as well? Are we not like Him at times, doubting our God and not realising that we have done so? How many times has it been in our lives that we have questioned God’s love and decision for us? We are just like St. Thomas in our ways, and just like the other disciples and Apostles whom Jesus had called, all sinners alike before God and men.

God came to call all those who have sinned and lived in the darkness, that they may come into the light, and that was how He approached the prostitutes and tax collectors, people who have been sinning before God, and those whom the people had considered to be worthy to be saved. But God showed forth His love and called all of them to be His disciples, to be healed from their sins and faults, and to be reconciled with God.

St. Thomas himself did not doubt any longer, and believed from then on wholeheartedly. It was told by sacred tradition that St. Thomas travelled to many places evangelising among the pagan peoples, spreading the Good News to them, particularly what is now the southern parts of India, where even until today, thriving Christian communities can be found, as the so-called ‘St. Thomas Christians’ who preserved the faith given to them through St. Thomas the Apostle.

And St. Thomas himself would go on to die in martyrdom defending his faith against those who opposed his good works and evangelisation. From a doubter of the Lord and from a feeble faith, God had transformed the faith of St. Thomas into one that was firm and true, to the point that he was even ready to lay down his life for the sake of the Lord and standing true to his faith.

Otherwise, how we would explain his hard work and effort, and the thriving Christian communities which he had established two millennia ago and yet still thriving even until this very day? All those Christians did not come about from nothing, but through the effort and the hard works of the Apostles and their successors, from all the faith and hard work done by St. Thomas the Apostle, a doubter turned a firm believer of Christ.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us must realise that the works of St. Thomas, the Apostles and all the disciples of the Lord are yet incomplete, as the commands of the Lord still stand true even to this day. He has commanded all of them to go forth to all the nations and to preach the Good News to all the peoples, calling them to repentance and to accept the Lord as their Saviour and their God.

Let us all therefore be exemplary in all of our words, actions and deeds, be filled with love and joy in all of them, truly showing everyone that we really are faithful people of God, who completely place our trust in Him, and who walk in His path without hesitation and doubt. Let us ask the Lord to strengthen our faith in Him, especially when we are faced with challenges, with difficulties, temptations and doubt. St. Thomas the Apostle, pray for us always, pray that we will be strong in faith. Amen.

Monday, 3 July 2017 : 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.”

Monday, 3 July 2017 : 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.

Monday, 3 July 2017 : 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.

Friday, 22 April 2016 : Fourth Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 14 : 1-6

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples at the Last Supper, “Do not be troubled! Trust in God and trust in Me! In My Father’s house there are many rooms; otherwise, I would not have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. After I have gone and prepared a place for you, I shall come again and take you to Me, so that where I am, you also may be. Yet you know the way where I am going.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Sunday, 3 April 2016 : Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 19-31

At that time, on the evening of that day, 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 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!

Friday, 3 July 2015 : 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 one of the Twelve Apostles, namely that of St. Thomas, known also as St. Thomas Didymus or the Twin, whom many of us would know from the Gospels, as the doubting disciple, who did not believe and indeed refused to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead.

St. Thomas had always been a doubtful disciple, even before the suffering and death of Jesus. When at one moment Jesus mentioned that He ought to go back to Judea despite opposition and plotting by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, St. Thomas commented that they ought to go forth and follow Him, so they could die together with Him. He made such a comment because of his lack of faith, and the doubt in his heart.

And similarly therefore, he refused to believe when the other disciples told him about the resurrection of Christ from the dead, when he was not there while Christ appeared to them the first time after His resurrection. It was indeed noteworthy what he said in that occasion, that unless he saw with his own eyes and touched with his own hands and fingers the very wounds on the Body of Christ, then he would not believe.

Why is this so, brothers and sisters? It is part of our human nature as well, to demand tangible and real explanation for phenomena and things that we do not understand. We want to touch it first, feel it first, and be able to experience it first with our senses, and then only then we believe in something, and even so, we are still often filled with doubt and uncertainty.

And that comes to the problem which our world is facing today, as more and more people refused to believe in the Lord, because they thought that He does not exist, and that He is not real, just because they were unable to see Him, or touch Him, or interact with Him directly, in a way that we normally interact between one another. So, some of us think that God does not exist, and therefore drift away from His path towards salvation and into the uncertainties of the world.

This is our vulnerability, trying to reason and find proof of the existence of God, without realising that God has always been present with us, and indeed, without Him, there would not have been life in us. If we truly know love, and if we truly have love in us, then we would have known God being present in and around us. For God Himself is love. And the manifestation of that love is none other than by the sending of His Son, Jesus, to be our Saviour.

Jesus came into the world, manifesting the love of God which He had given us. And even at that time, those who saw His miracles and works refused adamantly to believe in Him, including the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who have seen so many of His works and yet continued to oppose Him. Better was the faith of St. Thomas, who at least believed when Jesus finally appeared to him and showed him the truth about Himself and His resurrection.

And as Jesus had told His disciples, indeed, we are all truly blessed, for we have believe in Him, even though we have not seen Him, heard Him or touched Him. We believe in Him, because deep inside, we know that, we live by His grace and love, and His tender love and care is always around us, surrounding us and is with us, and to all those who are faithful to Him, He will bless and give all His promised salvation and entry into the eternal life in bliss prepared for us.

Let us all learn from the examples of St. Thomas the Apostle and the many other faithful disciples of our Lord, who remained true to Him despite all the difficulties and challenges. May this be our destination in life, the goal we ought to look out for. May God be with us always, now and forever. Amen.