Scripture: 1st Reading: Eph2,19-22; Resp. Psalm: Ps117,1-2; Gosp. Accl.: Jn20,29; Gospel: Jn20,24-29
Many followed our Lord during His earthly ministry. These were called the disciples. These were persons who were attracted to the life and preaching of the itinerant preacher from Nazareth in Galilee. They were attracted to His Person, they hung on His words because of the newness and authority of His teachings. They saw something different in Jesus of Nazareth, an irresistible attraction.
Out of this band of followers, our Lord chose the twelve Apostles and then constituted them into the inner circle of His disciples. These Apostles, meaning people who are sent, were not super human beings. They were frail persons, with all their personal weaknesses and sinfulness. This notwithstanding, they distinguished themselves as great lovers of the Lord. They did not allow their personal foibles to overcome the grace of God in their lives.
Thomas was one of these twelve men who were described today in our First Reading as the foundation stone on which the household of God was built. In this whole structure or edifice, Christ Jesus Himself is the cornerstone. This is why the structure continues to perdure and stand, in spite of numerous attacks from the gates of hell and the underworld.
Thomas loved the Lord with his whole heart. He followed the Lord very closely, believed in Him as the Messiah, the long expected One, the hope of the nation of Israel. Thomas was equally an ardent preacher of the gospel. Thomas was there when the Lord preached to thousands, followed Him on His journeys, heard His explanations of the difficult teachings, ate and drank with Him.
Thomas was also present when the Lord suffered and died on the cross. He saw it all. The agony of the cross was probably too great for this Apostle to overcome. He probably was unable to overcome the "finality" that the death of our Lord portrayed in human terms. He saw His breathing His last on the cross as the end of the road, the end of the dream.
That was probably why he could not believe that our Lord had risen from the dead when this was reported to him. That was probably why he said he would not believe until he saw in His hands the print of the nails and place his finger in the mark of the nails and place his hand in His side.
Our Lord appeared eight days later, upbraided Thomas for his doubts and unbelieve, told him not to be faithless. Thomas responded by saying "my Lord and my God", thus declaring his faith in the divinity of our Lord. Our Lord replied, "you have believed because you have seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."
Thomas overcame this setback in his journey of discipleship. That experience marked a new beginning in his relationship with Jesus. Thomas used his fall as a stepping stone to greater commitment to the Lord Jesus. He became a great evangelizer and tradition has it that he preached the gospel in India, where he died and is greatly venerated.
We have the privilege to turn our setbacks into new opportunities for closer relationship with the Lord. It all depends on how we manage those privileged moments offered us by the Lord Himself. Let us not allow them to fritter away through our fingers.
Let us pray: "Grant, almighty God, that we may glory in the feast of the Blessed Apostle Thomas, so that we may always be sustained by his intercession, and, believing, may have life in the name of Jesus Christ your Son, whom Thomas acknowledged as the Lord." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always. May this new week be truly blessed for you. Rev. Fr. Anthony Igbekele.