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In Defense of the Doubter


“Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.” ~ Khalil Gibran

Fourth of July weekend and First Saturday finds me in Collierville, Tennessee visiting family for the long holiday weekend. The Catholic Church of the Incarnation will be my destination for Daily Mass over the next few days, the photo chosen for today’s reflection taken from the Saint Terese of Lisieux Chapel, its intimate setting perfect for weekday morning mass at the Incarnation. Hopefully many of you had the opportunity to attend First Friday Mass yesterday, offered as always in adoration and devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Our church today celebrates the most maligned Apostle this side of Judas, the great Saint Thomas. We know that he was the twin of . . . someone, this by virtue of the fact that his name in fact means twin. In that respect, the quote chosen to kick off today’s reflection seemed particularly appropriate. Saint Thomas is the Patron Saint of ship builders and the country of India, where his tireless evangelical pursuits in the days following Jesus’ Ascension into Heaven led to the spread of Christianity throughout India and parts of Pakistan and Turkey. He is greatly revered and venerated in India, the name Thomas remaining very popular among devout Indian families.

Yet despite the thousands he baptized, regardless of the fact that he too died a martyr’s death, Thomas will forever be remembered for his moment of skepticism, revisited in today’s Gospel (John 20:24-29) as it is every year on July 3rd.“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his handsand put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side,”Thomas told the others, “I will not believe.” A week later he would do just that.

But in defense of Saint Thomas, if the Apostles in fact knew what they knew, that Jesus was the Son of God and Savior of all mankind, that no grave could hold him, why did they remain locked in the upper room? Why weren’t they out proclaiming this miraculous event? Perhaps this is why Thomas doubted their story.

For that matter, why do we, knowing what we know, remain locked in our proverbial upper rooms, oftentimes shying away from living and proclaiming the Gospel message in our workplace, to our families, and elsewhere?

After allowing Thomas to probe and examine his wounds, the only thing in the entire Heavenly Kingdom that are man made, Jesus proceeds to say something amazing. He proclaims “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” These would of course be those who Thomas and his fellow apostles would go on to fearlessly evangelize at the expense of their lives. They are those in the year 2021 who we evangelize. Yes, we are presented with the unique opportunity, every day, to bring souls to the faith. To tell those we encounter about the God who loves and fights for his children. The Go’s who wants to share the eternal Heavenly Kingdom with those who belong to Him.

So let us be galvanized by the efforts of Saint Thomas directly after his great moment of doubt and seek to share our unique faith encounters and experiences, all of which possess the potential to inspire others, so that they too can be blessed with the gift of faith.

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Because the Gospel of peace, hope and faith is too good to keep to one’s self. . . about that there is no doubt.

Saint Thomas, Apostle and Martyr, pray for us.


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