From the Pastor
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time – A
July 2, 2017
The Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle is July 3 for Roman and Syro-Malabar [India] Eastern Rite Catholics. [The Bible does not say where Saint Thomas preached the Gospel, but tradition says he went to India.] For centuries Saint Thomas
was [and still is for other Churches] December 21, the day he was martyred, in either AD 53 or 72, by Hindu priests or accidentally killed by a peacock hunter, as Marco Polo [circa 1292] reported. In the liturgical reforms of the 1960’s his Feast Day was transferred to July 3, the day when – since the 4th Century – they celebrated the transfer of most of his relics from India to Edessa, Greece. In 1258, they were brought to Ortona, Italy, to safeguard them from Moslem invaders, and were enshrined on July 3. Some of Saint Thomas’
relics remain in all three places!
While the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke only mention Saint Thomas
by name in their listings of the Twelve Apostles, John’s Gospel mentions him more often – and even quotes him three times. I used a part of each of those three quotes as the basis for my reflections on each of his three orations below.
Saint Thomas, Apostle – Collect
Grant, almighty God, that we may glory in the Feast of the blessed Apostle Thomas, so that
we may always be sustained by his intercession
and, believing, may have life in the name of Jesus Christ your Son, whom Thomas acknowledged as the Lord.
Who lives and reigns … for ever and ever. Amen.
“WE DO NOT KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING, HOW CAN WE KNOW THE WAY?” These words were spoken by Saint Thomas
at the Last Supper, after our Lord shocked the Apostles with the news He was going to leave them to prepare a place for them. [John 14:1-6]
In response to Saint Thomas’ question, Jesus proclaimed “I am the way, the truth and the life”
by which Jesus gave us Himself as the map to follow that safely leads to the place He has prepared for us. As this Collect says: Saint Thomas
intercedes for us, hoping we will follow the ‘way’ Jesus left us and showed us.
Saint Thomas, Apostle – Prayer over the Offerings
We render you, O Lord, the service that is your due, humbly imploring you to keep safe
your gifts in us, as we honor the confession
of the Apostle Saint Thomas
and offer you a sacrifice of praise.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
“MY LORD AND MY GOD!”
A ‘confession’ is not always an admission of guilt or sin; it can also be a formal proclamation of one’s faith. While Saint Peter’s confession: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”
led Jesus to bless Peter: “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church” [Matthew 16:13-19], Saint Thomas’
confession: “My Lord and My God”
led Jesus to bless us: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Now we must make our confession by offering God … “a sacrifice of praise.’”
This biblical term does not mean we must offer praise until it hurts; in its original context: “Through [Jesus] let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.” [Hebrews 13:15] it means we must offer all we say and do in union with Jesus … as we do in a unique way at holy Mass.
Saint Thomas, Apostle – Prayer after Communion
O God, as we truly receive in this Sacrament
the Body of your Only Begotten Son,
grant, we pray, that we may recognize him
with the Apostle Thomas by faith
as our Lord and our God
and proclaim him by our deeds and by our life.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
“LET US GO TO DIE WITH HIM.” While these words, uttered by Saint Thomas
after Jesus told the Apostles He was going to where the soon-to-be raised Lazarus was buried, and where they had recently tried to stone Jesus [John 11:1-16], are not a bitter, depressed, hopeless resignation of impending martyrdom, they are a statement of profound faith: for unless we die with Christ: die to sin, to our own will, and to our own ways, we cannot rise with Christ to new life! Saint Thomas, Apostle, pray for us!
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS