Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Saint Thomas

Caravaggio - The Doubting Thomas
One of the 12 apostles, Thomas will unfortunately always be remembered for his doubting fit, right after the Resurrection of Jesus. He would not believe unless he saw with his eyes and touched with his hands the wounds of Jesus. This story is the origin of the term 'Doubting Thomas.' After seeing Jesus alive (the Bible never states whether Thomas actually touched Christ's wounds), Thomas professed his faith in Jesus, exclaiming "My Lord and my God!"; and on this account, to his credit, he is also called Thomas the Believer. Thomas is more specifically identified as "Thomas, also called the Twin" (Didymus.)

Just as Saints Peter and Paul are said to have brought Christianity to Greece and Rome, Saint Mark brought it to Egypt, Saint John to Syria and Asia Minor, Thomas is often said to have taken it eastwards as far as India. He is popularly known as the patron saint of India. Ancient writers used the designation "India" for all countries south and east of the Roman Empire's frontiers, which could mean China, the Far East, and beyond, just about half of the world!

The expression of faith which St Thomas uttered, “My Lord and my God,” has become a very popular expression that people use during the elevation of the Body and Blood of Christ. Some people say it softly, others audibly enough. It is not part of the liturgical rubrics, but it is a powerful expression of faith in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. I can only imagine how terrible St Thomas must have felt after realizing that it was really Jesus he was seeing again when He reappeared to the apostles gathered in the upper room. The Roman Catholic and Anglican calendars honor him on July 3, the day on which his relics are believed to have been translated to Mylapore, a place along the coast of Chennai in India to the city of Edessa and Mesopotamia. This took place in 232 AD and the transfer of his relics were organized by an Indian king.

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