Kaimuthu – A Rich, Meaningful Heritage

Published by Jacob P Varghese on

The fact of Jesus Christ being alive, after being crucified on the cross, would have been hard for anyone to accept. ‘St. Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin or doubting Thomas, was not present with the other disciples, when Jesus appeared to His disciples’. He was the only one absent, among the eleven. On his return he heard what had happened but refused to believe it. In essence, St. Thomas decided to suspend his belief until he had seen for himself the nail prints in Christ’s hands. “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (Jn. 20: 25).

The Lord came a second time; He offered His side for the disciple St Thomas, to touch, held out His hands, and showing the scars of His wounds, heralded the wound of disbelief. Christ said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving but be believing” (Jn. 20: 27). But when St. Thomas saw Jesus, he needed no more proof. When Thomas realized that what he had heard about Jesus Christ’s resurrection was true, he breathed out the greatest confession of faith of the New Testament “My Lord and my God!”(John 20: 28).

The Holy Bible does not mention that St. Thomas had put his hand in our Lord’s side. But there is a strong traditional faith that St. Thomas had put his finger in the wound scar of the nails and the scar of the lance, at the side of the Lord. Thus, Saint touched the blood and flesh of our Lord, all the other Apostles rushed to St. Thomas and kissed his hand which touched our Lord’s blood and flesh. This incident is the basis of our “Kai Muthu” soon after the Holy Eucharist. The faithful kisses the hands of the celebrant, who has handled the flesh and blood. Probably for the same reason we kiss the hands of Bishops, when we meet and greet their graces. St. Thomas would be the only person to touch the Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ, our LORD.

Do you really believe that it was by chance that this chosen disciple was absent? He came, he heard, he touched, and he believed. It was not by chance but in God’s providence, in a marvellous way, God’s mercy arranged that the disbelieving disciple, in touching the wounds of his Master’s body was a one, in the presence to then entire Christian community, the then Apostolic band. The disbelief of Thomas has done more for our faith than the faith of the other disciples should heal our wounds of disbelief. As he touches Christ and is won over to belief, every doubt is cast aside, and our faith is strengthened. So, the disciple who doubted, then felt Christ’s wounds, becomes a witness to the reality of the resurrection. The same is expected when we kiss the hands of the celebrants.

The veneration of the priest’s consecrated hands, reverently kissed by the faithful, has always existed in the Church. It is noteworthy that during the persecution of the first centuries, one outrage to bishops and priests consisted in cutting off their hands so that they could no longer perform the consecration nor give blessings. Christians used to go find those amputated hands and keep them as relics with preservative spices. Kissing the priest’s hands is a delicate expression of faith and love for Jesus whom the priest represents. The more faith and love there is among the people, the more they will venture to kneel before the priest and kiss those “holy and venerable hands”, in which Jesus lovingly makes Himself present every day.

They are icons of Christ we should all seek to emulate. When you kiss their hands, you show respect for their office — they are the ones who “bless and sanctify” you and who offer the holy gifts on your behalf.  Saint John Chrysostom once said that if one were to meet an Orthodox Priest walking along with an Angel, that he should greet the Priest first and kiss his hand, since that hand has touched the Body and Blood of our Lord.  The Holy Church gives the faithful opportunities, to Kiss and touch the hands of the celebrants, who has held and distributed the Holy Body and Blood of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ!

1 Comment

George Thomas · April 11, 2021 at 2:57 pm

If the absence of st Thomas was the plan of Jesus why Jesus rebuked him and said because you have seen me you believed blessed are those who have not seen yet believed.. Joh20.29
Once you see something no need of believing yes you know for sure its true.
I think this is what Jesus wants to emphasize here to his disciples before sending them to spread the good news. Go and preach you are eyewitness you believe JESUS IS RISEN HE WILL COME AGAIN to take whosoever believed this good news

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