JULY 3 – SAINT THOMAS, Apostle and Co-Patron

The Synoptic Gospels mention Thomas only as a member of the Twelve, in contrast to the Fourth Gospel which provides a series of vignettes, in which Thomas is at the forefront. For example, when Jesus decides to go to Judea to resuscitate Lazarus, it is Thomas who confronts the other disciples: “Let us also go and die with him.” At the Last Supper, Thomas protests: “Lord we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus answers: “I am the way.”

In the narratives of the appearance of the Risen Lord, Thomas is reluctant to believe the testimony of the disciples who have seen the Lord, and demands physical evidence and a personal encounter. A week later, his request is granted, and Thomas responds with a perfect act of faith: “My Lord and my God.” Jesus accepts his confession, but praises those who believe without seeing. The last mention of Thomas is when he accompanies Peter when Peter goes fishing.

The fourth Gospel refers to Thomas as the Twin, a Greek translation of the Aramaic Te’ôma’, but we do not know the Twin’s proper name. Some Gnostics speculated that Thomas as the twin of Jesus himself, and the Docent Court composed the apocryphal Gospel according to Thomas.

It is not unthinkable that the Johannine portrayal of Thomas touching the physical wounds of the Risen Lord is an indirect response to the nascent Gnostic-Docent tradition.

According to Claret, a missionary must have a profound experiential knowledge of Christ in order to preach. “[Thomas] was able to demonstrate faith in the resurrection of the Son of God, as St. John did in the passion and death of Jesus. He added the vision to the belief, the consolation of seeing the merit of submission, the evidence of the eyes in the darkness of faith. It seems to me see of one walking with fervor to the ends of the world, and without fear of the chains, nor of death. It doesn’t focus on the shipwrecks nor the betrayals, or the slanders. In all places, he preaches that which had been denied; and says to everyone what another apostle is saying: we witness to what our eyes have seen and our hands have touched.”

Claretian Reflection

Others had recognized Jesus as unique. Early in the Gospel according to John, Nathaniel exclaims: “You are the Son of God.” At Caesarea Philippi, Peter exclaims: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” It is Thomas, however, who is pre-eminent among the first to acknowledge absolutely that the Risen Jesus is divine, and under the power of the Spirit, he is sent to evangelize the Medes and Indians. Undaunted by shipwreck, betrayal, slander, laws of the land and persecution by indigenous peoples. Thomas preaches what he had first denied.

The apostle, who put his hands into the wounds of the Redeemer, received abundantly from those wounds an outpouring of grace and mercy, far surpassing his disbelief.

As the bronze serpent erected by the Hebrews on the battlefield healed them of their snake bites and moved them to turn back to God, the wounds of the Son of God cured Thomas of his unbelief.


  1. BÜHNER, J. A., Voice Apostle, in exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, t. I, Salamanca 1996.
  2. CLARET. Collection of selected panegyrics, t. V, Barcelona 1860.
  3. LEON-DUFOUR, X., Voice Apostle, in dictionary of the New Testament, Bilbao 2002.
  4. MEIER, J. P., A Marginal Jew, t. III, Estella 2004.
  5. ODELAIN, O. AND SÉGUINEAU, R., Dictionnaire des noms propres of the Bible, Paris 1978.