Saints of the Canon – Saint Thomas

[Saint Thomas the Apostle]We hear much about “doubting Thomas” but look at the valiant and loyal follower of Christ in the following incident as narrated by Saint John. On hearing of the death of His friend Lazarus, Jesus made known His wish to go to Jerusalem. The disciples remonstrated with Him on the risk he was taking, reminding Him of the recent threats of the Jews. But when Christ said: “Let us go to him.” It was Thomas who then spoke up bravely to the others: “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” (John 11:16).

Fitting words for a future martyr!

Research during the past 100 years shows that Saint Thomas preached to the Parthians in the East, where tradition says he baptized the three Magi. Today in Malabar, India, there exist some 400,000 Christians who claim to be descended from converts made by Saint Thomas. They call themselves “Thomas Christians,” and are organized into a province with four dioceses.

It is now accepted that Saint Thomas suffered martyrdom on a hill known today as Saint Thomas’ Mount, some miles south of the city of Madras. A suburb of Madras is called San Thome and a fine Cathedral dedicated to Saint Thomas stands there.

Saint Thomas faced the dangers and uncertainties of exile, far from his homeland; so that his doubting words will be forgiven.

It is wonderful to think of Mass being said in India by one of the Apostles.

In the Mass of Saint Thomas on July 3rd, the Gospel narrates the famous scene which occurred in the upper room after the Lord’s Resurrection. Saint Thomas doubted, and it is only when Jesus made him put his finger into the wounds, that passing suddenly from incredulity to ardent faith, he exclaimed: “My Lord and my God.” (John 20:24-29).

The elevation of the Sacred Host began as an answer to the heresy of Berengarius, who denied the Real Presence. Look up at the Host and say those words of Saint Thomas: “My Lord and my God,” for that practice is enriched by Pope Saint Pius X with an indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines and a plenary indulgence once a week on the usual conditions.

- from The Saints of the Canon, by Monsignor John T. McMahon, M.A., Ph.D; Australian Catholic Truth Society, 1958