The secondary school that I attended in south-east London was named after St Thomas the Apostle and I remember being quite disappointed. I wondered why St Thomas was chosen when there were so many other apostles to choose from: bigger, greater and better known apostles, in my opinion. There was St Peter who became our first Pope, St John and St Matthew who wrote one of the Gospels each, and even Philip and James would have been cooler choices. And if we couldn’t have any of these apostles, why not St Anthony (my favourite saint) or St Francis? The only thing St Thomas seems to be famous for is doubting that Jesus rose from the dead and surely he should be shamed rather than be rewarded by naming a school after him? It wasn’t until I had left school, when I was older and wiser, that I began to understand why.
As I’ve mentioned already, St Thomas is best known for not believing that Jesus had risen without proof. This has earned him the title of “doubting Thomas” which we use even today to describe someone who is reluctant to believe something. St Thomas will forever be labelled “the doubter” for having the audacity to question Jesus’ Resurrection. But shouldn’t we all be called Doubting Thomas? Like St Thomas, haven’t we all doubted our religion at some point? Haven’t we all questioned the benevolence or even the existence of God? If only we have physical proof. But we don’t.
St Thomas eventually got the proof he needed by seeing the resurrected Christ with his own eyes. But what about the rest of us who’ll never have that concrete proof during our lifetime? This is when having a strong foundation of faith is crucial. The answer to all our doubt is faith. Faith is a gift from God and is something we should pray to Him to grant to us each day.
St Thomas, soon after the Resurrection, ventured out to preach the Gospel in faraway countries including India. It’s in India where he made the most profound impact and converted many to Christianity. Like the other apostles, Thomas endured much suffering and persecution for his faith. He is a great role model for us. Yes, often we doubt. But it doesn’t make us bad, just human. It is okay to have doubts, to ask questions, to be not sure about something. What is important is that we should be open to the truth, have the desire to find it and that when we get the truth, we have the courage and conviction to live by it, and to fight for it if necessary. Just like St Thomas the Apostle did after he realised the truth about Jesus: “My Lord and my God!”