Saint Thomas the Apostle

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Jn 20:24-29.

St. Thomas, the Apostle

Think about Saint Thomas’s experiences for a bit. He spent several years following a wandering teacher with a band of followers .Through this teachers he heard of another kingdom , and of this teachers relationship to God. At one point Thomas was willing to face death, yet like the other followers they really didn’t fully know or understand what their teacher was saying.What he did preach though kept Thomas and his colleagues interested. Why else would they follow Jesus for so long. They also must have believed in some type of reward, whether it be a prestigious role in this talked about kingdom, or simply a better life. Why else would they put themselves in such danger?They were not fully convinced in Jesus teachings , they had their doubts. How could they not, they were students after all; complete conviction would have taken full knowledge of the details of Jesus’s plan. In any case, they held out hope for this teachers kingdom and they and faith in his word. Life in Judea was not easy for them and this preacher taught that their was a better way. This is the good part of the story, but now things go horribly wrong.

Their teacher Jesus, the Christ is arrested by the authorities. He is mocked, humiliated,beaten and scourged. He then is forced to carry his instrument of death, his cross, up a mountain where he is crucified. Crucifixion is a long,bitterly agonizing form of torture and death. It also is a public death meant to serve as a deterrent. Now imagine Thomas, a novice and reluctant somewhat impulsive student. Imagine Thomas witnessing the torture and death of his friend and teacher. Thomas also realizes that he too could face such a death. Is it hard to imagine Thomas wanting to forget all he saw, to go back to his old life? Is it hard to imagine him thinking that this new kingdom was a mistake? Would he be struck with fear, or grief? Is seeing him doubtful difficult? Cynical, angry ? The gospel does not tell where Thomas went after the crucifixion, it simply says that he was not with the others when Jesus appeared in the upper room.Chances are he was alone and in hiding and chances are as he came out of hiding he planed to go back to his old life as a craftsman.

In coming out of hiding though something happens, he runs into his old companions and they tell him the good news about Jesus. They tell him the news of his appearance. Thomas witnessed the death, he witnessed something he wanted to erase from his mind and who could blame him? Who would return to the hope of Christ’s teaching after witnessing how it ended? Thomas does have his doubts, his fears, his anger and he lashes out to the others when they say they have seen Jesus; “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe ! ” The remarkable thing though is that he does believe! “My Lord and my God”; strong words from an angry, bitter cynic! His witness of the crucifixion was powerful and it was meant as a deterrent. It was intended to make him not to believe and not to follow. How strong then was this Apostles witness to Jesus Christ to say ”My Lord and my God?” Thomas did go back to being a disciple of Christ. He preached Christ’s message to the ends of the world. Of all the apostles Thomas carried the gospel message the farthest by extending his preaching to India. In India these Saint Thomas Christians still gather in the name of Jesus and it is in India that St. Thomas died a martyrs death; in the name of Jesus Christ. Thomas had his doubts about Jesus, but they didn’t last very long. His faith though is still visible today… .. .

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