PASCHAL TIDE 2007
St. Thomas Sunday: Life of Faith
Acts 5:12-20 John 20:19-31
Protopresbyter Kyrillos Leret-Aldir
Christ is risen! But Thomas does not believe it. Christ is risen! He has appeared to Maria and the women. Christ is risen! He has appeared to the friends going to Emmaus. Christ is risen! He has appeared to the ten disciples and has given them the Holy Spirit to forgive. Christ is risen, but Thomas does not believe.
At last, the risen Christ demands of Thomas to look, to touch, to put his fingers into His wounds and his hand in His Heart, and to come out of his disbelief.
Christ is risen! He also demands of me, a Christian, to be full of faith. Yes, the victorious risen Christ demands of me a life of faith. He gave me this power of faith on the day of my Baptism. By Chrismation, I was branded with the gift of the Holy Spirit, as the Apostles were. Through Holy Communion, I am nourished and energized, as the Apostles were. Through Holy Confession of my sins, I am restored and protected, as the Apostles were. By Holy Marriage, the self preservation of my temporal life is elevated to the harmony of the economy of the Trinity of God, as some of the Apostles were. The Power and Judgement of God is deposited in the hand of Man thanks to and through the Priesthood, because the Apostles received it from the risen Christ. By the Holy Unction, I am healed and revitalized for my last steps towards the Eternal Life, as the Apostles taught. All these Mysteries, or Sacraments, are the pledge for the promise that, at my temporal life’s death, I shall pass-over (Pascha) to the Eternal Life, the Kingdom of the One God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. What a great mercy, what an everlasting life is granted to us for Christ is risen!
Therefore the risen Christ demands of me, a Christian, a follower of Him and His disciple, like Thomas was, to be full of faith. This means that all my thoughts, all my words, all my actions be transformed by the force, the power, of faith in Christ. The Apostles did not stay sitting down at home but went out to transmit to the world what Christ had commanded: doing wonders, signs, healing the sick, those bed-redden, those afflicted with unclean spirits. They were all healed. How did the Apostles do these signs and wonders? They were among the people in the Temple, in the Portico of Solomon, where the principle activity was to pray, giving glory to God, the Creator of all.
Another activity in the Temple was to teach the Law, the Torah of God given to Moses. That is, to learn how to organize the thoughts, words and actions of every day according to the Commandments of God. I, the Christian full of faith, come to the Church, among the people of Christ, to pray and to learn how to live the Commandments of God as taught by the Son of God, the risen Christ.
How does the Church teach us? This is done at the Divine Liturgy, reading two passages of the New Testament. However, these passages are selected not only with the aim of proclaiming the Good News of Salvation but also for me to learn how to live the life of faith according to Christ. On Pascha Night we begin reading the Gospel of John, more or less in order of chapters, up to Pentecost; then we shall do so with the Gospel of Mathew, followed by Luke and so Mark.
Similarly on Pascha Night we begin the book of the Acts of the Apostles; and so, from Pentecost it is put to us to read Romans, Corinthians, etc., the rest of the letters of the Apostles. Therefore, at the arriving of next Pascha we have read, with the exception of the Apocalypses, all the New Testament. And, another very interesting point is that the passages of the Gospel and the Apostle readings are very much inter-twined, to learn each day a particular practical point. In this way we, imitating the Apostles presence in the Temple of Jerusalem, are present every day in the temple of the Holy Trinity, that we all are, listening the Word of God. We do not need to be in Church every day. But, we read the selected passages every day in our homes, in the loneliness of our hearts with God and our holy Angel Guardian. This is life of faith, of prayer and, receiving the Son of God, transforming us into Himself, for He has risen and gone to prepare a place for you and me in His Eternal Life.
St. Thomas Sunday: Life of Faith (2007) Copyright © Protopresbyter Kyrillos Leret-Aldir.
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