Saint Thomas the Apostle, Martyr
(Feast Day 3 July)

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The Incredulity of St Thomas - by REMBRANDT Harmenszoon van Rijn - from Pushkin Museum, Moscow

 

John 20:24-29

Thomas (the name means "Twin"), one of the Twelve, was absent when Jesus came into the room. The other disciples kept telling him: "We have seen the Lord!" His answer was, "I'll never believe it without probing the nailprints in His hands, without putting my finger in the nailmarks and my hand into His side."

A week later, the disciples were once more in the room, and this time Thomas was with them. Despite the locked doors, Jesus came and stood before them. "Peace be with you," he said; then, to Thomas: "Take your finger and examine My hands. Put your hand into My side. Do not persist in your unbelief, but believe!" Thomas said in response, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus then said to him:"You became a believer because you saw Me.
Blest are they who have not seen and have believed."

 

Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle

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Christ and Doubting Thomas - by VERROCCHIO, Andrea del -
from Orsanmichele, Florence
 

Though Saint Thomas the Apostle is often referred to as the "Doubting Apostle," in truth he was one of the most faithful, believing of Christ's disciples. This is confirmed in John 11:16 when Thomas boldly encourages his fellow apostles to go with Jesus to Lazarus where the fear was that they might be stoned, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him". That does not display doubt, but rather undying faith. But Thomas, being human and having withered the many storms Christ underwent, expressed the sentiment many would.

In other words, it was almost too much to believe that Jesus had risen. To allay any further sorrow, Thomas put up a defense to the other Apostles with his famous, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe". In other words, "don't tease me"! Christ understood and was gentle with Thomas, rebuking him mildly in John 20:27-29 with ... "and be not unbelieving, but believing ... Because thou hast seen Me, thou has believed. Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed". The last sentence is a great lesson in faith for the majority of us have not seen, yet we believe. That's faith. This event also occurred before the Descent of the Holy Spirit. Even before this, Thomas had pledged his undying loyalty with his famous response to Our Lord in John 20:28, "My Lord and my God"! It was Thomas' way of asking forgiveness for doubting. After Christ's Ascension, Thomas was sent to preach in Parthia and the Indies where he gained the glorious crown of martyrdom.

In 1972 Pope Paul VI proclaimed him "Patron Saint of India".