Dukrana of Mar Toma Shliha

Qeryana I (Old Testament Reading I): Genesis 2:8-15  
Qeryana II (Old Testament Reading II): Proverbs 4:10-18  
Engarta (Epistle Reading): Ephesians 2:19-22  
Evangalion (Gospel): John 20:24-29  

This is the ecclesial day (Jatheeyadinam) for us when we commemorate and celebrate the heavenly birth of Apostle Thomas, our father in faith, who shed his blood and died at Periyamalai, Chennai on this day. It is our conviction and firm tradition that Mar Toma Shliha brought us the Gospel in the first century. Christianity in India is not an import or product of colonialism. In humble repentance we Indians and the members of the church that he planted in India remember that we are divided in different ways and are beset with many problems within and without. And so we earnestly pray for unity and the spirit of evangelization going beyond human frontiers as our Saint did by undertaking such a risky travel to such a known yet distant land like India in those days.


Gen 2:8-15 speaks about the beautiful paradise or Garden of Eden with tress, plants and rivers full of water. We are to remember that Sin made us unworthy of this beautiful abode. The wisdom teacher (Prov 4:10-18) says that good and evil are set before us and we are to make a choice. We are cautioned: “Do not follow the way of the wicked, nor walk in the way of the evildoers. Avoid it, do not go on it; turn your back on it and go on your way.”


What St Paul wrote to the Ephesians (Eph 2:19-22) reminds us that we are “built upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets, and whose cornerstone is Christ Jesus Himself.”
He adds that we are built into a sanctuary in which God lives by His Spirit.


At Jn 20:19-23 we have the appearance of the risen Jesus in which the Holy Spirit and the power to forgive sins were given the apostles and we are told that apostle Thomas was absent at this decisive moment. When the matter was reported to him by the other disciples he declared that he would not believe them. Because he was so convinced Jesus would not make such an important appearance in his absence because he loved him so much so that he alone was ready to go to Bethany and die with Jesus (Jn 11:16). Almost the same event reported by Luke in which Jesus said to the doubting disciples (24:36-41): “look at my hands and feet and see that it is I myself. Touch me and see for yourselves.” Jesus directs almost the same words to Thomas in Jn 20:27: “put your finger here and see my hands; stretch out your hand and put it into my side.” The main difference is that in Luke it is in the plural and in John it is in the singular. On the basis of Jn 11:7-16 some pictured Thomas as a pessimist, for he said, ‘Let us go that we may die with him.’ But what happened in fact was that the Master was determined to undertake the dangerous journey and Thomas who preferred to die with the Master than live without him made such a heroic statement as ‘going and dying with Jesus.’ Thomas justly wanted to see the risen Lord personally, and in fact when the Lord appeared his only response was an ecstatic, “My Lord and my God!” Mar w-Alah Jesus is Yahweh and God! This is the clearest and strongest proclamation in the divinity of Jesus in the Fourth gospel.

Fr. George Kaniarakath, CMI

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