Memory of the apostles

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Memorial of the apostle Thomas. He confessed Jesus as his Lord and, according to tradition, witnessed him all the way to ill India.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 20,24-29

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, 'We have seen the Lord,' but he answered, 'Unless I can see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.' Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. 'Peace be with you,' he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving any more but believe.' Thomas replied, 'My Lord and my God!' Jesus said to him: You believe because you can see me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Thomas, called Didymus. John's Gospel speaks of him several times in connection with the great mysteries of Jesus' glorification. Thomas is capable of great bursts of generosity, such as when he urges the other disciples to go with Jesus after the death of Lazarus, even if it should cost them their lives. Tradition has it that Thomas evangelized Persia and the west coast of India, where he died a martyr: the Christians of Malabar consider him the founder of their Church. On Easter evening, Jesus appears among the disciples gathered in the upper room. But Thomas is absent. He is the only one missing. His heart has also been wounded by everything that has happened, but he stays away from the others. Thomas does not believe the other disciples when they tell him what happened. It is impossible for Thomas - and not just for him - that life can rise from the places of death; it is inconceivable that a crucified man could come back to life. He is a realist, who, as often happens, ends up becoming cynical, hard, and almost vulgar in his attitude towards Jesus' hands and sides, which reveal suffering and the cruel impossibility of hope. For a cynical person, hope seems to be an illusion and evil has the last word on life. The next Sunday, Jesus returns and once again gives them the greeting of peace and speaks to Thomas: "Do not doubt but believe," and urges him to put his finger into the nail-marks and his hand into the wound in his side, as they were the object of his unbelief. At this point the disciple falls to his feet and professes his faith, "My Lord and my God." It is not Thomas who touches Jesus' wounded body, but rather the words of Jesus that touch Thomas's heart and move him. In reality, Thomas is present in every disciple: in those who have difficulties and doubts, in those who suffer because they are unable to believe, in those who are in pain because of the impossibility of loving, and in those who struggle to hope. But somehow all of this brings us closer to faith. Jesus continues to come back to tell us, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe." His words are enough to make us believe, as long as we let them touch our heart. People of faith are not those who convince themselves, but those who trust and believe possible what they cannot see.