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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Saint Thomas the Apostle, Dec 21

Saint Thomas the Apostle, Dec 21

The Apostle Thomas ( whose name signifieth a twin, for which reason in Greek he is called Didymus) was a Galilean. The historian Eusebius saith that after the descent of the Holy Ghost Thomas preached the Gospel to many different peoples, such as the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Hyrcanians, and Bactrians. It is believed that he went last of all to India (for his ministry there is mentioned by holy Ephraem the Syrian, blessed Jerome, and others ) where, because of his holiness and wondrous works, he drew many after him, and brought them to Christ Jesus. For which reason he is said to have provoked the anger of the idolatrous king, who condemned him to be pierced with lances, whereby he crowned the dignity of his apostleship with the glory of martyrdom. Eight miles from Madras, on Big Hill in the Coromandel coast (called in the Martyrology Calamina), is a spot still pointed out as the place of his holy death. His relicks were reputed to have been translated to Edessa, thence to Chios in the Aegean, and later to Ortona in the Abruzzi, where they are to this day venerated with much devotion by the faithful.

A Homily by St. Gregory the Pope

Dearly beloved brethren, what do ye chiefly notice in this passage? Think ye that is was by accident that this chosen Apostle was not with them when Jesus came? Or that when he came, he heard? Or that when he heard, he doubted? Or that when he doubted, he touched? Or that when he touched, he believed? None of these things was accidental, but providential. It was a wonderful provision of divine mercy, that this incredulous disciple, by thrusting his fingers into the bodily wounds of His master, should apply a remedy to the spiritual wounds of unbelief in our souls. The doubts of Thomas have done us more good than the faith of all the disciples that believed. While he feeleth his way to faith by touching, our minds are freed from doubt, and settled in faith.

Antiphon on Magnificat:
O Thomas Didymus to whom it was given to touch the risen Christ, and who now with him art evermore on high, * we entreat thee to pray for us who suffer amidst the evils of this world, lest amongst the lost we receive the sentence of doom, when the Judge appeared.
Almighty and everliving God, who for the more 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, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Antiphon on the Benedictus:
Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed, * blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.

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