The celebration of the 9-day Novena Masses in honour of Saint Thomas, the Apostle, was truly remarkable. It was great seeing most of you participate enthusiastically in the celebrations. The weather was wonderful, even though it was hot and humid. We were fortunate to have both local and foreign priests celebrate the Masses for us, and they were all wonderful. The Parish Feast Committee members, Liturgical Committee, BEC Coordinators, and many others who worked behind the scenes did an excellent job making the celebrations meaningful for us.
The celebration of the Feast of St. Thomas came to a close with a Thanksgiving Mass, today. During these days, Saint Thomas has been praying for our different needs and requests. We humbly ask for his intercessions to guide us on our spiritual journey as we seek to recognise and embrace the presence of the Risen Lord in the Scriptures, Sacraments, and every aspect of our lives.
Since I started serving at St. Thomas’ Parish in Kuantan, I always refer to our Parish as Saint Thomas, the Apostle, who walked with Jesus during His public ministry. The reason for this is that there are two well-known saints named Thomas, namely, Saint Thomas Aquinas who lived in the 13th Century, and Thomas More in the 16th Century, while the remaining five are from the Orthodox Church. It is most likely that their names were inspired by Saint Thomas the Apostle. I have also taken Saint Thomas as my Patron Saint. He now holds a prominent place in my heart. I often pray to him, even for minor things like finding a parking spot, and he always fulfils my requests immediately.
Our main theme for this year centred around “St. Thomas, A Saint for Our Times.” We had been developing this theme since last year. We plan to maintain this main theme for the upcoming year too. Saint Thomas is highly relevant in our present time, particularly with regard to our faith. Despite his initial doubt, he eventually became a believer.
Recently, a comment was made on our parish website praising the themes taken from the Litany Prayer to St Thomas, the Apostle. That’s correct! This year, our themes revolved around the Litany Prayer, which we composed last year. We chose themes for this year that were drawn from the first half of the Litany Prayer and we plan to focus on the second half of the Litany Prayer for next year. When we recite the Litany to St. Thomas, the Apostle, we can gain a better understanding of its significance and meaning.
Whenever we preach of St Thomas, we tend to focus on the post-Resurrection event and his proclamation and acknowledgement of the Risen Lord – “My Lord and My God”. In John Gospel, Chapter 14: 1-6, which I frequently use for funeral Mass, Thomas asked Jesus, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” Eventually, Thomas discovered that Jesus is the One who leads the way to the Father, the truth, and life.
Throughout our journey of life, we encounter many challenges and struggles. It is important to keep our faith in Jesus and make Him the centre of our lives. When we face uncertainties, it is common to struggle with faith. In the face of uncertainties, it’s crucial to maintain our faith in Jesus and prioritise Him in our lives. Overcoming challenges requires faith and a willingness to fight, but with God’s assistance, we can achieve anything through our unwavering belief.
Life can be full of troubles, uncertainties, doubts, and scepticism. However, in those moments, it’s important to remember that Jesus is Our Lord and Our God, even if we don't know where our life is heading. He will guide us towards fulfilment by showing us His Way, Truth, and Life.
Let us strive to live our faith in Christ Jesus and show our people that Jesus is not only Our Lord and Our God but also Our Way, Our Truth, and Our Life; through Him, we can attain salvation.