Thomas Sunday – First Sunday of the Fifty Holy Days

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (Jn. 20:29)

On the eighth day of the Feast of the Resurrection is Thomas Sunday. It is one of the Seven Minor Feasts of our Lord. On this Sunday, we commemorate the event of the Apostle Thomas touching the wounds of Christ.  On this day, Christ appeared to His disciples for the second time while they were gathered in the upper room in the presence of St. Thomas.

The first appearance was in the evening on the same day of His Resurrection, Jesus appeared to ten of His disciples (John 20:19). Thomas was not with them (John 20:24). So He appeared again this second time on that Sunday to strengthen Thomas’ faith (John 20:26).

The disciples repeatedly informed St. Thomas about the appearance of the Lord Christ to them, but he refused to believe them, disbelief and denial came upon him as he said: “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe” (Jn. 20:25).

For this reason, the Lord appeared on the eighth day following the day of His resurrection, and told St. Thomas: “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe” (Jn. 20:27). It resulted in the confession of St. Thomas that Christ is the Lord and God, as he cried out saying: “My Lord and my God” (Jn. 20:28). This marvel was shown so that the Resurrection might be believed, and that He was the Crucified One Himself.

Thomas was a very committed disciple willing to stand up and face threatening condition; and if necessary give his own life for the Lord. His devotion to Jesus is clearly expressed in John 11:5–16: when Jesus planned to return to Judaea, the disciples warned him of the Jews’ animosity (“now seeking to stone you”), to which Thomas soon replied, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” St. Thomas, was the only one of the Apostles who declared his readiness to die with Christ. At the Last Supper (John 14:1–7) Thomas could not comprehend what Jesus meant when he said: “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas’ question, “how can we know the way?” caused Jesus to answer, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”

He would ask and inquire, so to know and believe, ascertained and informed. He said to the Lord “Master, we do not know where you will go, so how will we know the way?” (Jn 14: 5).

“Thomas, being once weaker in faith than the other apostles,” says St John Chrysostom, “toiled through the grace of God more bravely, more zealously and tirelessly than them all, so that he went preaching over nearly all the earth, not fearing to proclaim the Word of God to savage nations.”