July 3 is the feast of St Thomas, one of the disciples of Jesus. Being a native from Kerala India, it is a special day as there is a long-running tradition that Thomas is the apostle of India and evangelized parts of India. Thomas is one of the significant characters in the Gospels. I feel the New Testament gives many models for Christian discipleship. Some of the significant ones are Mary, Peter, Paul, Mary Magdelene, Thomas, John, Philip, Martha & Mary, the Samaritan woman, Zaccheus, and so on. They are all unique models, and none being superior to the other as a model — all worth following.
- Thomas is mentioned a few times in the gospel. His name is always mentioned when the names of twelve disciples are mentioned.
- Before the incident of the resuscitation of Lazarus, he says, “Let us also go, that we may die with him” (Jn 11, 16)
- In response to one of the questions of Thomas, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (Jn 14, 5), Jesus gives the beautiful response…. “I am the way, the truth and the life” (Jn 14, 6)
- The most significant mention is when Jesus appeared to the disciples when Thomas was not there. Thomas was not ready to believe the disciples. Some say that he wanted to see and experience Jesus just as others did. (I feel all of these would have been there). Jesus grants his request. Thomas makes one of the greatest faith proclamations in the Bible, “My Lord and My God” (Jn 20, 28). The literal translation of Greek would be “Lord of Me and God of me”
- We don’t have materials to know about the spiritual experiences or questions of Thomas post-resurrection.
- There are significant reasons to believe that he went the farthest among all the disciples and preached the Gospel and was martyred like others.
- A person with a lot of questions.
- Interestingly, his questions lead to extremely significant statements (faith affirmations) in the Bible.
- He gave witness to those faith affirmations through his inspiring missionary journey.
- Faith and Doubt co-exist.
- Have the courage to ask questions in the faith-journey, even though many answers won’t satisfy us.
- Certain experiences can lead that faith-doubt dynamics into a different realm of radical freedom and following.
- Faith-doubt dynamics do co-exist even after that experience. (This is my intuition).
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