1st century AD (Galilee, Israel) – 72 AD (Mylapore, India)
Saint Thomas was one of Jesus’ best friends, one of his twelve disciples. Do you know what his name means? In Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, it means “twin.” And Thomas really tried to be like Jesus’ twin, following everything Jesus did.
One time Jesus said to his friends that they would know how to follow him even after his death. But Thomas didn’t really understand this and probably neither did the others! So, he asked Jesus to explain. As you can imagine, this took a lot of courage and being very good friends with Jesus. In return for asking good questions, Jesus rewarded Thomas and all of us with saying: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” What a beautiful poem! It makes it so clear what we should do to come close to God and we wouldn’t have it if it wasn’t for Thomas. He clearly trusted Jesus a lot, but he also showed great suspicion of others!
After Jesus came back from the dead, he appeared to a small group of his friends and Thomas wasn’t there. When the others told him about their meeting with Jesus, Thomas didn’t believe them and said firmly: “I have to see Jesus for myself, with my own eyes and touch him with my own hands or I won’t believe.”
A week later, Jesus came to his friends again and this time Thomas was there too – he made sure he wouldn’t miss it! Jesus, who knew Thomas very well, came to him and said “Put your finger here and see the wounds in my hands. Put your hand here, touch the wound in my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe!” Thomas is stunned! He looks at Jesus and says more clearly than anyone ever: “My Lord and my God!” Jesus turns to him and says something that he is telling all of us: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” None of us have seen him or have been there with Thomas, but Jesus encourages us to believe and tells us we’ll receive a special blessing to help us!
Thomas was the kind of guy everybody was happy to have around, because he said and did things others didn’t dare. And he asked Jesus such direct questions! Thomas ended up taking Christianity all the way to India, the farthest any of the disciples went. His deep faith and his great friendship with Jesus helped him and we can learn a lot from him!
“Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”