those who have not seen but yet believe”
On 3rd July we celebrate the
feast of St. Thomas, Apostle of India, who brought the “gift
of faith” to the country, after his experience of “seeing
St. Thomas, “My Lord and
my God” is not a mere exclamation (vocative) but is rightfully
as “You are my Lord and my God” (see 1 John 5:20 &
Rom 9:5) This is a profound profession of faith that is even today
used at “consecration” by congregations countrywide,
in adoration of the God we do not see, but believe in. Is so-called
“blind faith” that blind?
Christmas, especially in south
India, are blessed with vibrant vestiges of St. Thomas traditions:
the Syrian rites, the “two Mounts” and St. Thomas’
tomb Cathedral, in Chennai (Tamilnadu), the bleeding cross, a relic
of St. Thomas’ bone and the like.
All these provide devotees with
the means to see, touch and “feel” the presence of St.
Thomas as if he were alive, although two thousands years have elapsed
since his martydom. Yet St. Thomas exhorts us to heed Jesus’
words, the last “Beatitude” in the gospels “Blessed
are those who have not seen and yet believe”.
Like the Gospel the second reading
1 Pet 1: 3-9 extols those who have “eyes of faith”:
“Without haveing seen him you love him ... as outcome your
faith you obtain the salvation of your soul”.
Proclaiming the Lordship and
Godship of Jesus is only possible when one has faith in oneself,
in others, in Nature and in God.
Such faith does not come from
seeing with the eyes or touching with the hands, or knowing with
the mind, but from experiencing with one’s heart and savouring
with one’s spirit.
In “the Daily Study Bible”
written by William Barclay, in Vol. II of the Gospel of John, pg.
277 he writes about how St. Thomas arrived in India. He writes that
after the death of Jesus, when the Apostles decided to “go
and preach the Good news”, India fell by lot to Thomas and
a merchant called Abbanes from India went to Jerusalem, sent by
King Gundaphorus to bring a carpenter and Thomas was a carpenter
and brought him to the king who commanded Thomas to build a palace
and the King gave him money in plenty for the purpose and Thomas
distributed it to the poor and built houses for them to live. The
King asked Thomas that he wanted to see the palace and Thomas replied
you can’t see now but when you depart from this life, you
will be able to see it. The king was very angry and Thomas in danger
of his life, but in the end the king too was won for Christ and
so Thomas brought Christianity to India.