Friday, July 3, 2020
Today is the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle. The gospel reading at Mass today (John 20:24-29) is the origin of the phrase "doubting Thomas." That's not the attribute I'm here to pick on today, however. The reading starts with the words "Thomas, called Didymus." Didymus is the Greek for "twin," and Thomas seems to be the Aramaic for "twin." But it takes two to twin, doesn't it? And the Bible never gives any hint of Thomas actually being a twin, or having a twin. Is it just like nicknaming someone named John "Loo", or someone named Kelly "Green", or someone named Joe "Java"? Yeah, maybe. Or maybe he looked enough like the Teacher, Jesus, to be His twin? Or maybe he and his identical twin brother were oldest sons, and no one was ever sure which one was the firstborn and heir?
This mysterious missing other twin made me think about duplicity, not in the sense of deceitfulness, but in the sense of being two people within oneself. Lack of integrity, or of integration, between the face we show to the world and the one we see in the mirror. Or even deeper, a split between the face we see in the mirror and the person God sees when He looks at us. Is Thomas, the untwinned twin, called "twin" because he's twice as much man as the rest of them, or because he seems to be only half of a whole?
I am not speculating on the actual, historical, apostle Thomas. This isn't biblical scholarship. The far-out internet notwithstanding, there are no serious theories out there. It's a riddle. What does it make you think of?