(Anglicans in Sri Lanka - and some other traditions - celebrate the Feast of St. Thomas – the patron saint of India and Sri Lanka on December 21)
"Truly I say to you, if a seed of grain does not go into the earth and come to an end, it is still a seed and no more; but through its death it gives much fruit." John 12:24
First of all, let me narrate a legend regarding St. Thomas.
After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the disciples cast lots to decide how to reach the ends of the earth to preach the Gospel as instructed by their Lord. Thomas drew the lot to go to India. In the first century of the Common Era, there were trade routes between the Middle East and India.
Most probably Thomas was aware of these trade routes. However, Thomas was reluctant to go to India. During that time, Indians sometimes came to the Middle East in search of carpenters and builders. Then when Thomas was hesitating to go to India to preach the Gospel, some ministers from the court of a King called King Gundaphorus came to the Middle East in search of a builder and carpenter. Then what Thomas did was to go to India as a builder and carpenter.
The story goes that, instead of supporting to build an earthly kingdom, he started to work towards the furtherance of the Kingdom of God in India. Finally, according to tradition, he was martyred in India.
In the Bible verse I have given at the beginning of this message, Jesus says that a seed should die to bear fruits. Thomas was a good seed from the Middle East who had his formation at the feet of his Lord and Master Jesus Christ. Yet until he was able to die on the Indian soil he could not bear fruit.