Friday July 3, 2020, Feast of St. Thomas, the Apostle
Readings: Ephesians 2: 19 – 22, Responsorial Psalm 117, Gospel: John 20: 24 – 29
Since the early Church there has been a tradition that Thomas is the Apostle of India. In Syriac his name means ‘twin’; he is also called by the Greek equivalent, ‘Didymus.’ Although the phrase “doubting Thomas” refers to him, it overlooks both his loyalty in troubled times and his absolute surrender when given the evidence he sought. Having seen, he declared the great Christian confession, “My Lord and my God”: the doubter became the believer. Thomas is a patron saint of builders, and of India and Pakistan.
St. Paul’s words in today’s first reading directed to the Ephesians also have a meaning for us. We belong, we are part of God’s household, and God dwells in us. Can I listen to this message, and take reassurance and strength from it? Fellow-citizens of the saints, he says, members of the household of God. We belong here, not as tourists, or strangers creeping into an awesome temple, but as children taking our places at the family table. Those who have come close to death remember an overwhelming sense of happiness within reach; they know they are coming home. We are not there on sufferance, but because it is our place.
The dignity that I am given in being a member of God’s household is not something that I have deserved or earned – it is God’s gracious gift, given in love. I place myself in prayer before God, who attends to me as a family member. I think of all who are estranged, left out or feel marginalized. I think of how my words and attitudes can remind them of their true dignity, can help them to realise that we are called into one family in God.
Although I pray alone, I am linked with so many others. I am connected, not just with those who pray now, but with the generations of apostles, saints and prophets built on the corner stone that is Christ Jesus himself. I pray that I may remember that I am a dwelling-place for God. I cannot make myself worthy, but try to reflect God’s generosity by how I live and by what I say and do.
Thomas is overcome because he sees a heart that is wounded, wounded out of love for humanity, the Sacred Heart that took the sin of humanity upon itself. That is what love does, love suffers for the other and Thomas now sees this suffering wounded love before his eyes in the Sacred Heat of Jesus. Thomas sees the pain in Jesus heart caused by man’s gratitude and lack of belief. Thomas sees Divine Mercy in physical form. Divine Mercy takes the sine of mankind upon its own heart instead of inflicting on humanity the just punishment for sin. Divine Mercy forgives, heals and restores.
Christ’s Sacred Heart which raised up Thomas from despair to faith is ready to raise up each of us from any despair we may have to Christian hope. Christ invites each of us, “… bring your hand and put it into my side…” (John 20: 27) Christ invites each of us to touch his Sacred Heart, to allow our hearts become hearts of love. As we look on Christ’s Sacred Heart we see that Christ’s love forgives us, heals us and restores us. The physical wound in Christ’s side is only the gateway
To the love of Jesus’ Sacred Heart. In Christ’s Sacred Heart we see the love of Jesus for us and we respond, “My Lord and My God.” (John 20: 28).
God Bless. Have a wonderful day