“My Lord, and my God”
Words of faith arise from doubt and uncertainty. The Feast of St. Thomas occurs on the shortest day and the longest night of the year in the week of the winter solstice that brings us to the Christmas festival of light and love. Somehow his feast helps us to think more deeply about the advent of Christ and its meaning, even to “melt the clouds of sin and sadness” and to “drive the dark of doubt away.”
“’What is Truth’, said jesting Pilate; and wouldn’t stay for an answer,” Sir Francis Bacon famously begins his celebrated essay On Truth. Like Pilate, Thomas asked a question of Jesus earlier in John’s Gospel just after Jesus spoke of “go[ing] to prepar[ing] a place for you … that where I am there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going” to which Thomas asks, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus responds famously “I am the way, and the truth and the life.” Unlike Pilate, Thomas, it seems, stayed for an answer and then again returned for an answer to his doubts and questions about Christ’s resurrection. “My Lord, and my God” are his profound words of faith that arise from the face-to-face encounter with the Risen Christ whose body bears the marks of his crucifixion.
It is that question and answer about the bodily reality of Christ that makes The Feast of St. Thomas an advent feast and catapults us into the mystery of the Incarnation. It serves as well to connect Christmas and Easter; the nativity and the resurrection are like two complementary mysteries, each illumining something of the deeper meaning of the other. The Gospel for his Feast day is the resurrection story of Jesus teaching the disciples behind closed doors and finally Thomas, too, about the resurrection, itself a testament to the Incarnation.