The month of July is blessed with the memories of St. Thomas, the apostle of India and our father in faith. In St. Thomas we see a true apostle, a genuine disciple and a zealous missionary.
When St. Thomas came to know that all the disciples except him were blessed with the visit of the Risen Lord, he was disappointed. So he says: “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (Jn 20: 25). These words of St. Thomas are often considered as a proof for his lack of faith and he is often called as ‘doubting Thomas’. But beyond the realm of unbelief, these words are inseparably connected with his apostleship.
Before the election of Matthias, Peter explains the basic quality that an apostle should have. “Beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us, he must be a witness with us” (Acts 1: 22). St. John writes: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched— this we proclaim concerning the Word of life” (1 John 1: 1). In this sense when Thomas was denied the vision of the risen Lord, the relevance of his apostleship became a big question mark. So Jesus by appearing to St. Thomas takes the initiative by Himself to underline the apostleship of Thomas. So the patrimony of faith handed over by our father in faith is something special which is personally approved by Christ himself.
We live in an age in which faith and the life of faith are often criticized and are looked down. We should painfully realize that there is a drastic growth in the number of people who do not care for the life of faith. St. Thomas through his life proved that ‘faith is more precious than life’. Being his children, let us give priority for faith in God in all the circumstances of our life. Let the life and example of St. Thomas help us to be the living examples of faith in our daily life.
Fr Prince Thomas Chakkalayil CST