The Catholic Defender: St. Thomas On Resurrection Day
When we take a look at the course of events through that first Easter day when Jesus Resurrected from the dead, we know the Apostles were in a place of hiding. Why not? The Lord had suffered a most cruel death.
Early that morning, it was women who went to the tomb to tend to the body of Jesus. Matthew 20:1-7 states, "Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulcher. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you."
With this news we find St. Peter and St. John running to the tomb, "So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead." John 20:2-9
To this point we must conclude that St. Thomas was hanging around with the other Apostles waiting on more information.
Next we find Jesus coming upon two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus, Cleopas, one of them asks, "And he said to them, "What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?" And he said to them, "What things?" And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him." Luke 24:17-20
This is not the best of this story as we follow Jesus with Cleopas to his house, at this point, they did not recognize Jesus, they were captivated at Jesus words they wanted more assurance.
Finally, Luke 24:28-32, "So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?"
What a fantastic Eucharistic Miracle that just took place.
Each Wednesday night, Dr. Gregory Thompson and I focus on Eucharistic Miracles and how these events inspire us. This certainly inspired Cleopas and his companion who then went to inform the Eleven Apostles of what happened:
Luke 24:33-35 states, "And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread."
At this point St. Thomas was present as he clearly is one of the Eleven. But what happens to St. Thomas following the report of Cleopas? Did he take off in disbelief? Did he accept a mission for food? The Scripture is silent about this, but we know that St. Thomas was not present for the Lords appearance:
"On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe." John 20:19-25
How many of us can identify with St. Thomas on this first Resurrection Day? Have we ever found ourselves with a doubt? Interestingly, many of the Eucharistic Miracles that Dr. Thompson and I will cover addresses the doubt of a Catholic priest in the Consecration of the Eucharist! Many of us in our lives can certainly identify with St. Thomas. We know Jesus love is beyond all measure:
John 20:26-29 tells the story, "Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."
Many of the Catholics I have come to know are in many ways like me who at one time abandoned the hope of our faith and fall away for thousands of manufactured reasons. But like myself, many are Reverts back to the Faith! Like St. Thomas, Jesus shows compassion and Mercy accepting the Prodigal. The Lord's Majestic Sacraments are so important.
The Lord might say this was simply all in a days work, for many of us, it might be a lifetime. What work is Jesus accomplishing in you today? With the new dawn, Jesus gives us much. Consider one more blessing given to St. Thomas!
Following the Council of Jerusalem (49 A.D.), according to a writing called, "The Passing of Mary", St. Thomas was given the grace to have witnessed the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Despite the Apostles being scattered everywhere to spread God's Word and bringing converts to the young Catholic Faith, they were all gathered by the Lord in miraculous fashion bringing them all to Jerusalem to be with Mary at her death.
Just like how the Spirit of the Lord took St. Philip to the region of Azotus miraculously (Acts 8:38-40), the Apostles were brought to the side of Mary.
St. Thomas was transported to Jerusalem from India to witness the Assumption. In a reversal, it was the other Apostles who initially doubted St. Thomas word that Mary Assumed into Heaven and dropped her girdle. St. Thomas is often depicted in art with Mary's girdle.
I encourage everyone to invite Jesus and Mary into your home and like St. Thomas receive great grace.