Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle
What do I do when nothing seems to fit right in life? My "self" wants to complain, blame and get angry. Those "waves" of emotions and behaviors may have passed through Thomas; it is not recorded that way. But real doubt did fill him; that His beloved Jesus had, indeed, had been raised from the dead. Was part of it just feeling "left out?" He "was not with them when Jesus came." And, even though he heard that they "had seen the Lord", were not they still behind doors that were shut? What kind of credibility is that? Nevertheless, his loyalty in the most troubling of times enabled him to be truthful enough to say to his peers that his faith was weak and he needed proof.
Jesus wants us to speak our truth even about the stuff that doesn’t go right or doesn’t fit. He is the builder. In Him "the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord." And then there was the surrender, accepting the reality in which he was privileged to be. He was "in touch" with the suffering love that would not fail him. He was in a reality, surrounded by "what doesn’t fit", that which is neither right nor just. But that is where the gifts of loyalty and surrender fit.
There is a famous statue of Thomas depicted as the carpenter, pensive, pondering, holding a carpenter’s square. He was part of that building of the kingdom on earth that would send him to India. Perhaps feeling a bit of the "stranger and alien," wondering how he would fit. Not to worry. His relationship with Jesus would be the grace and power built on those natural gifts entrusted to him that would send him to India, to build up the Body of Christ.
We are called to that same mission. That is why we are faced with the realities of the unfit. We have the "cornerstone" upon whom to build that dwelling place for God.
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P. is president of Holy Family Cristo Rey High School, Birmingham, Alabama.