Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church
(Hebrews 10;19-25, Mark 4:21-25)
Of all the theologians in history few have left a mark quite as indelible as St. Thomas Aquinas. He is like the lampstand that Jesus speaks of in today’s gospel. Set on him, Jesus, the light of the world, is made visible to guide the people.
Thomas was born into a noble Italian family. There was little doubt that he would become a priest. But he left behind family influence which would have him become a Benedictine abbot. He followed the Lord’s calling into the Dominican Order. There he was tutored by St. Albert the Great. Surpassing the brilliance of his mentor, Thomas became a master teacher in Paris. His opus magnus, the Summa Theologiae, synthesizes Aristotle and Augustine and other prominent thinkers. But its first and foremost sourcebook is the Scriptures. Thomas interprets the Scriptures thoroughly, consistently, and perceptively.
Unfortunately, reading Thomas presents a challenge. Although his Latin is not intricate, the words in his time often have different meanings than in the classical period or today. Also, the scholastic format seems redundant and abstract. But taking pains to read Thomas gives the reader an exalted appreciation of both faith and whom faith reveals, the Lord God.