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393Homily for 4/11/10 - Pascha 2 - Thomas

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  • Fr David Moser
    Apr 11, 2010
      John 20:19-31

      Eight days ago, we celebrated the greatest of all feasts, Pascha, the
      Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This past week, we call Bright
      Week and liturgically it is as though every day were Pascha all over
      again. The services are all done according to the same order as the
      services on Pascha. If we look at the week before, we see, in the
      crucifixion and burial of Christ the end of the old world – on Friday,
      the sixth day of the week, Christ dies and is buried and on Saturday,
      the Sabbath, the day of rest, He rests in the tomb just as at the
      Creation of the world, God finished his work on Friday with the creation
      of man and on the Sabbath day He rested. On Sunday, the first day of the
      week again, Jesus Christ arose from the dead and the “eighth day”, the
      first day of the new Kingdom, the first day of eternity, begins. This
      day begins not with the rising of the sun and the spreading of material
      light, but this day begins with the rising of the Son of God and the
      spreading of the spiritual light which illumines the whole world. And
      this day will never end, the light will never fail and darkness is
      banished. The whole of bright week continues as though it were still the
      same day, with the same Paschal celebration, and we live in that new
      light as in the eternal Kingdom of God.

      Now today we come again to another “eighth day” the eighth day of the
      new day and again we are reminded that the light of Christ does not fail
      and that we live in the new world order of the Kingdom of God which
      began with the Resurrection of Christ. On this day we begin to set aside
      the pure rejoicing of the Resurrection and begin to go about the
      business of living in this new world brought about by the Resurrection
      of Christ. Just as in the old world of creation, Adam and Eve lived in
      the garden of Eden and depended upon God alone for His provision for all
      their needs, so we too in this new world of the Resurrection must live
      in total dependence upon God. To that end, we begin to read today, in
      the Gospel how that works in the Kingdom of God.

      On the day of the Resurrection, the disciples had hidden themselves
      together in a locked room for fear of the Jews and suddenly Jesus stood
      in their midst. Although they had heard the news of the Resurrection
      from the Myrrh-bearing women and the report of the empty tomb from Peter
      and John, they still were not sure of the truth of this great news. They
      needed some kind of assurance in order to rid themselves of their doubt.
      Jesus, seeing their need came into their midst and seeing their doubt
      and fear said to them, “Peace be unto you” granting them the peace of
      soul that comes with the banishment of doubt and fear. But Thomas, one
      of the eleven, the inner circle of the disciples, was not there with
      them. When he returned and the others told him of the news, he wanted to
      believe, but still he was plagued by doubt, he did not yet have the
      peace that had been given to the others. But our Lord seeing Thomas’
      need came again to the disciples on the eighth day after His
      Resurrection and this time Thomas was there. Our Lord gave to Thomas not
      only the assurance of His presence, but also offered to Thomas His hands
      and side that he might touch the wounds inflicted by the crucifixion –
      confirming that this was indeed none other than the risen Lord and not a
      merely a spirit for His body had substance and could be touched and bore
      the wounds that had been inflicted by the ordeal of the crucifixion.
      From this we can see the provision of God for us. He saw the needs of
      the disciples and came to them fulfilling their need for assurance, for
      the banishment of fear and doubt. In response He came to them and gave
      to them His peace and giving to them such proofs as they needed to
      eliminate their doubts. By His gift of peace, He confirmed their belief
      in Him and demonstrated to them His power that even conquered death and
      remained with them. This is the example of how God deals with us. He
      sees the needs of our hearts and He comes to us and provides for us all
      that is necessary to meet that need. For the disciples, first it was
      simply His presence and peace which was needed for them to silence all
      doubt and banish all fear. For Thomas, not only did he require that
      presence and peace, but in addition he was given the opportunity to
      touch the very Body of our Lord Jesus Christ. For us, we are given the
      sense the presence of Christ with us through the Holy Spirit, and
      through the grace of the Holy Spirit poured out upon us we too have the
      peace of Christ. Not only that, but like Thomas we are presented with
      the very Body and Blood of Christ not only to touch but to eat and drink
      as did the disciples at the last supper in the upper room so that we
      might take Christ into ourselves and be physically as well as
      spiritually united with Him.

      This granting of presence an peace was not the only thing that happened
      when Jesus came to the disciples. He also gave them a task, a place and
      role within His Kingdom. Jesus knew that it was not sufficient to
      experience the Resurrection but that it was also necessary to act on
      that experience. Thus He gives to us each a place, a role, in His
      Kingdom. To the disciples he said, “as my Father hath sent me, even so
      send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith
      unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they
      are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are
      retained.” He gave to them a task – He sent them to continue the work
      that He Himself had begun in the world to proclaim the Good News; just
      as He had, to reconcile the world to God, just as He had; and to teach
      those who would believe about the Kingdom of God, just as He had. This
      was their calling as Apostles and knowing that they would be unable to
      do this on their own strength and wisdom, He then breathed on them
      giving them the Holy Spirit. And one further thing, He gave them some
      basic instruction in how to fulfill the role that He had given them for
      He taught them first to forgive sins, just as He had done so that the
      world might be reconciled to Himself.

      Our Lord also gives to each of us a place in His Kingdom and sets before
      us tasks by which we work out our salvation and work for the welfare of
      His Kingdom of which we are citizens. The Holy Apostle Paul reiterates
      this saying that “some are apostles, some prophets, some evangelists,
      some pastors and teachers” and elsewhere enumerates some of the infinite
      variety of spiritual gifts that are given to those in the Church
      according to their need. And these spiritual gifts reveal to us the
      principle which was demonstrated on the day of the Resurrection – that
      when God gives to us a task, He also gives to us that which we need to
      fulfill that task. When Jesus came to the disciples and said to them,
      “as my Father hath sent me, even so I send you” they did not object that
      they could not fulfill this calling, that they weren’t like Him, that
      they were just ignorant fishermen, that they just couldn’t do that –
      rather they trusted that their risen Lord who had come to them and
      filled them with His peace, would also give to them that which was
      necessary to fulfill the command that He had given them. They knew that
      even death could not separate Him from them and that He would never
      leave them nor forsake them.

      This same assurance is what He offers to us. He sees all our needs and
      even before we know what to ask of Him, He comes to us and gives us what
      we need. We can depend upon Him to know and to meet our every need. We
      also know that He will call each of us to our proper place and role in
      His Kingdom – He has a place for us – and He will give us whatever we
      need to fulfill that role and when necessary will teach us how to go
      about our labors in His kingdom. This is the eighth day, the new day in
      the new Kingdom of God. Let us then leave behind the old world and enter
      into the life of the new through the passage opened to us by the
      Resurrection of Jesus Christ.



      --
      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org