Homily for the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle
St. Thomas always seems to get a bad rap. The first thing that people always think about when Thomas comes to mind is that he doubted that the Lord appeared to the disciples in the Upper Room in the days after the Resurrection. Sure, he had a moment of questioning; he had a moment of doubt. But it is through that questioning that we have a saint to whom we can relate.
All of us have our own moments of doubt where we question whether the Lord is listening to our prayers, whether He even cares about what we’re experiencing, whether He is going to be there with us in our moments of need. That’s called being human. It’s a fundamental part of the human condition. But I also want us to recognize something important about our moments of doubt.
I know in my own experience, whenever I have encountered a moment of questioning, particularly questioning an aspect of our faith or my own relationship with the Lord, it usually leads to a moment of humbly turning to the Lord and asking for deeper insight into those doubts, those confusions, and those questions that are on my heart. That’s the same thing that happened with St. Thomas.
Had he not doubted and not questioned that the Lord actually appeared to his fellow disciples, we wouldn’t have this example of how he came to a deeper sense of faith; we wouldn’t have this expression of faith that we read in our Gospel. It was through those doubts that the Lord was able to bring Thomas to a more complete understanding of who Jesus was and the mission that He was sent to accomplish. When the Lord appeared to Thomas, it was an answer to the doubt that was on the apostle’s heart. And it led to Thomas recognizing the true identity of Jesus; it led to him proclaiming: “My Lord and my God.”
If we are struggling to believe an aspect of our faith or struggling to fully understand a characteristic of Jesus, we can find some consolation in knowing that we are not alone. We’re in pretty good company. We have a companion in St. Thomas. But, we also have to learn from him. The reason Thomas was able to come to belief was that, even though he doubted, he didn’t stay in the doubt, he still related those things to the Lord. And, in doing that, he had an encounter with the Risen Jesus. We have to do the same.
Today, as we come forward to receive the Eucharist, let’s present to the Lord those areas of our hearts where we doubt; let’s present to him the questions that are on our hearts. He wants to meet us there. Will we let Him lead us to a deeper sense of faith so that we can make the words of Thomas our own…so that we can have an encounter with the Risen Jesus and proclaim: “My Lord and my God.”