Thursday, July 3, 2014

Why St. Thomas Is My Homeboy

You know, St. Thomas gets a bad rap. I have always thought that. Whenever the scripture reading about "doubting Thomas" comes up, I'm always the first to defend him. Why? Because I'm EXACTLY like him. Don't worry, Tommy boy. I got you.

Today, on the Feast Day of St. Thomas, I want to discuss this. Here's a recap of the famous reading regarding St. Thomas:

 John 20:24-29

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But Thomas said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

I put myself in his situation. The other apostles, who have seen the resurrected Jesus, are so excited! He has risen! He is back! I would most likely reply (quite skeptically and sarcastically): "Yeah....I'm sure he did." Then I would most likely feel like a total tool when I realized, only after getting proof, that...oops, they were right.

We all want PROOF. Jesus rose from the dead? How do you KNOW? God exists? What makes you so certain?

We have brains, and we have logic. We have science to help us discover the world and how it works. This is part of the reason why I love the Catholic Church, because I feel that out of all the religions out there, it most embraces and accepts science and logic for what it is. However, there are still things about the Church I love so much that you simply must BELIEVE. Like, that the bread and wine at Mass literally turn into the Body and Blood of Jesus. still tastes like bread and how could that be?

In order to be saved, we must have faith in Jesus. This actually scares the living daylights out of me. Because, so many times, I don't have faith. There always seems to be a creeping voice in the back of my head that questions EVERYTHING. How can you actually believe that little circular piece of bread up there is Jesus? Why do you actually think Jesus rose from the didn't see it, did you? How on Earth do you think that Scripture in its entirety is completely infallible?

You know what that voice is? Satan. Yes, folks, Satan is real. Just like Pope Francis has been preaching about so many times. Like Scripture says, Satan is "prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour." (1 Peter:5 8). Should this bring us to despair? No! We should rejoice that Christ died on the cross for us, and that He always has and always will win against the darkness.

Still...we all have these doubts in our minds. But here's what I always tell myself: God has given us the gift of miracles. I firmly believe that miracles occur specifically for people like myself and St. Thomas. These miracles, in themselves, are living proof that all these things Scripture claims are TRUE. Thomas needed proof because of his weak spirit, and Jesus gave it to him.

St. Padre Pio's uncorrupted body after 40 years
Don't believe the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ? There have been Eucharistic miracles aplenty. There are documented instances when the bread and wine actually have transformed and looked like real human flesh and human blood. Don't believe in sainthood? There are a large number of Saints whose bodies (hundreds of years old) have never decomposed, with no use of any chemicals or preserving methods. Don't believe in the healing power of Christ? There are countless stories of people miraculously healing from incurable illnesses and wounds (including amputated legs suddenly growing back).

Some skeptics argue that miracles are simply events that science has not yet explained. I just can't buy it. Sure, there have been events in the past that people thought were miracles, and were later proven to be normal acts of science. But I can't believe that with the amazing technology, information, and knowledge that we have in this day and age, science could somehow not explain these phenomenons.

As weak as my faith is, and as doubtful of a person as I am, I continue to thank God for the gift of miracles. For doubting Thomas's like myself, they are the extra encouragement I need that Jesus truly is our Savior, that He really did rise from the dead, and that I can continue to see Him every day at Mass in the Eucharist.

So instead of showing St. Thomas in a bad light, maybe we should cut him a break. He's just another guy like the rest of us who needed a little extra knock in the head to help him realize what was really happening. St. Thomas lives in the skeptical hearts of us all. Don't worry, Tommy. We ALL got you.

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