After every Easter we hear the same story; the story of Thomas (“The Twin”). “Doubting Thomas”. And every year we hear in sermons/homilies about how Thomas doubted. And every year I get annoyed.
What gets lost in this is what happened after the encounter. People tend not to dwell on what happened after this, as the Gospels don’t cover it. As you can imagine, Thomas was a man with convictions. Yes, he had doubt. But look at how forceful he said “until I place my hands in his wounds!”. He had passion, convictions. After Christ came and showed him the wounds, the doubt was removed. But his drive remained. Thomas was as motivated as ever. And now, he had something to prove, he wanted to show that he did believe. So Thomas went out and spread the Gospel like the remaining Apostles. And like the remaining Apostles, he reached Sainthood. But it is his journey to Sainthood that is interesting. A quick check on Wikipedia shows that Thomas died in Mylapore. For those who don’t know, Mylapore is located in India.
For Thomas to die in India, he needed to travel there. In the first century. The distance between Jerusalem and Mylapore is 4775 kilometers.
4775 kilometers. 2967 miles.
No cars back then, no planes. They had donkeys, but donkeys can be a pain in the ass sometimes, so Thomas probably walked a good chunk of it. Maybe took a boat for some of it.
Let us consider that the average human walking speed is 5 km/hour. At 4775 kilometers, if my math is correct, it would take 955 hours to travel at that speed uninterrupted. There’s 16 functional hours in a day (assuming people sleep for eight hours), so if my math is still correct that’s around 59.68 days of walking. That’s pretty much two months of walking in some harsh conditions, as apparently the Middle East is not a cakewalk weather wise. 60 days of travel, all while spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. All while he was under persecution and faced death. Of all the Apostles, it could be said that he may have been targeted the most, as those who knew he doubted before would think he would doubt again.
But Thomas stood firm, and he walked. He the walked 4775 kilometers, he spread the Gospel. And he traveled to India.
The crazy thing? If you DON’T count sleeping, 4775 kilometers at 5 km/hour……it’d take 39.79 days. Round up…..and that’s 40 days. The amount of time Christ Himself spent in the desert.
I have no qualms with people who have doubt, provided they apply themselves. Doubt can get you to ask questions, can get you to search for the Truth. But some ALWAYS ask questions, and are never satisfied with the answers. At some point you need to look at what you received, and if you received the right answer, if you received the TRUTH as Thomas did….it’s time to act. And when doubt is removed, it can propel one to greatness upon that action.
Every Easter season when you hear this Gospel, try not to focus on Thomas the Doubter. Try to see a man who asked some questions, and upon receiving the Truth did great things. He received his proof, he received the Truth and Light, and that was enough. Try to see a man motivated to do the right thing, and man who believed and set out on foot to prove that he believed.
Try to see a man to emulate, a man to follow. A true hero and role model for what he did after the Gospels.
Saint Thomas “The Twin”, Patron Saint of India, pray for us.