ALMIGHTY and everliving God, who, for the greater confirmation of the faith, didst suffer thy holy Apostle Thomas to be doubtful in thy Son’s resurrection; Grant us so perfectly, and without all doubt, to believe in thy Son Jesus Christ, that our faith in thy sight may never be reproved. Hear us, O Lord, through the same Jesus Christ, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, now and for evermore. Amen.
The Epistle. Hebrews x. 35, and part of Chap. xi.
CAST not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The Gospel. St. John xx. 24.
THOMAS, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
I once heard a clergyman say that St. Thomas has a perpetual reputation as the Apostle who doubted the Ressurection of Our Lord. I find that in the major propers for today we see this is somewhat the case. However, I would like to think that we can go deeper and look at the Apostle. The fact that he does not have faith is not a discredit as we can see that everyone has times of doubts . This shows a very human side to the . He is a man that was scared. They had seen their master murdered by the very people whom He was trying to save. He did not understand why Jesus would appear to the others but not to him. This verse, “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” shows some of the reason for this rebuke of the Apostle. Oftentimes Jesus would use situations to teach others aspects of the faith. Jesus was using St. Thomas to teach us about a theological principle of faith. He teaches us that seeing is not believing but believing is seeing.
I think in life we can feel like the Apostle Thomas. We can see others have things that we do not. We can see the gifts that God rewards them. We want evidence of our faith. We ask ourselves, “Why does God not show Himself to me by rewarding me.” It would be easy for me to believe in God if only I had such and such. It was not easy for Mary and Joseph to realize that their messiah would be one that they would have to raise and wait for in God’s timing. That took years of faith. Often, we want some touch of God right now but oftentimes this is not the way. It is faith and we cannot see faith. However, we are asked to be confident in the assured hope of the coming of Our Lord.
The fact is that Jesus did come and not as everyone expected. He did not do the things that they thought that He should do. Even the Apostles struggled with this fact at certain times. Would it have been better to have the messiah just snap his fingers and do everything? Well, sure in some sense. However, the problem was man and man’s heart. God gave Adam and Eve a perfect world but even that was not enough. It is our sin and our hearts. This is why Jesus did what He did. He wanted to teach us and give us an opportunity for our faith to build. The Apostles saw but did they believe? If Jesus had not revealed Himself what would have been the outcome? If God had not appeared to Joseph with angels would he have believed? The whole biblical narrative depends on faith, but this is not the type of faith that we can see but one that we must put our trust in God. The fact is that we all lack faith at times in our lives, we want things to happen now. It is not a disrespect to St. Thomas but it should be a thanking of St. Thomas. He is how we learn the message of faith. We do not see the faith, we live our faith. We have an assured hope that Christ will never leave us nor forsake us.
However, this does not mean that we do not feel alone sometimes. It is not easy. It is not easy to look at our fellow neighbor and not ask our creator why do they have something I do not. Why is my loved one not with me, and their loved one is spared? Why do those people have money, and I am struggling? The list goes on and on. We look at God’s blessing as a compensation for our faith. If you believe x much, then we will recieve x blessings. Faith is not measured in this way my friends. St. Thomas asked Jesus, “How do we know the way?” Faith is the message for Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We do not believe for benefit but we believe because of the promises of Jesus. The fact is that we do have a hope and although we do not see it and sometimes we do not understand it, He will not forsake His Covenant. Keep the Faith.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and God bless you!
Fr. Brandon Cribbs