Posted by: fvbcdm | July 3, 2012

Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle (3 July 2012)

In our religious calendar each year, we find the feast of Saint Thomas the Doubting Apostle on July 3rd, and then the following day, our national Independence Day, or “the Fourth of July” as it’s more commonly called. What are the two very important events which are recalled by these two celebrations?  Well, around the year 30 A.D., when Our Lord arose from the dead and appeared to his apostles, the apostle Saint Thomas was not among them.  They told Thomas that they had seen the risen Lord; they also told him that he still bore in his hands and feet and side the wounds inflicted upon him by his executioners.  Strangely, Thomas refused to believe them, and stubbornly maintained his attitude of disbelief until he had actually seen and touched the wounds in the body of Jesus.  I say “strangely” because Our Lord had predicted more than once that he would rise after his death.  Then why would Thomas not believe his fellow apostles when they told him that the prediction of Jesus had been fulfilled?  A week later, Our Savior appeared to his apostles again; this time Thomas was there and Jesus invited him to come and see and feel for himself this living body of his with the wounds in the hands, feet, and side.  Thomas’s reply is a beautiful act of faith: “My Lord and my God!” When I was a student in our parochial school, the Sisters taught us always to say “My Lord and my God” at the moment of the Mass when the celebrant elevated the consecrated host and chalice.  I still do that. What more appropriate greeting could be used to welcome Jesus’s presence into our assembly than that?

 

So on July 3, we celebrate the doubting, and then the believing and rejoicing of Saint Thomas the Apostle.  And on July 4, we celebrate the signing in Philadelphia, on July 4, 1776, of our Declaration of Independence from England.  Of course, it took our young nation a war of about seven years’ duration to convince England that we meant what we said, and that we really WERE independent of her.  And several times, we were very close to losing that war, but finally at a place in Virginia called Yorktown and in the year 1783, the English armies surrendered to their former colonists and the great struggle ended in triumph for the colonies, now states, and an independent nation.  Is one of these events more religious than the other?  I leave that to your decision, but we can certainly agree that the belief of Saint Thomas in his risen Lord and the foundation of this nation of ours with its marvelous freedoms and opportunities give us ample reason to thank God for these events and the blessings that they confer on us as the years go by.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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