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Homily for 5/4/08 - Pascha 1 - Thomas

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  • Fr David Moser
    John 20:19-31 The Holy Apostle Thomas was a man of great faith and spiritual strength. To read his life is quite inspiring. Unfortunately, sometimes the only
    Message 1 of 1 , May 4, 2008
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      John 20:19-31

      The Holy Apostle Thomas was a man of great faith and spiritual strength.
      To read his life is quite inspiring. Unfortunately, sometimes the only
      thing we read about Thomas is this little bit that we heard today in
      which Thomas demands proof of the resurrection before He will believe
      the witness of the other Apostles. Because of this we sometimes refer to
      him as “Doubting Thomas” and think of him as a skeptic but this apostle
      was much more than a skeptic or a doubter. For this reason today we
      continue to read further in the Gospel and we hear our Lord say to
      Thomas and to us, “be not faithless, but believing”. The response of
      Thomas to this commandment was to immediately cry out, “my Lord and my
      God”.

      If we were in the place of Thomas and the other disciples, we too might
      feel some doubt at the reality of the Resurrection. Never had a man
      risen from the dead on his own accord. The apostles all saw Jesus raise
      others from the dead, but never had a man raised himself from the dead.
      They all knew that Jesus spoke about the resurrection, but they either
      did not grasp the fullness of His meaning or they misunderstood and
      thought that He spoke of the resurrection at the end of the world. That
      He would literally rise before their eyes was almost incomprehensible.
      They all needed confirmation of the words of the women who saw him at
      the tomb and Jesus came to them bodily to provide that confirmation.

      We too are like the apostles. Often our faith is not strong enough to
      sustain our belief without some type of proof. We misunderstand or fail
      to grasp the promises of the Gospel. God’s providence is at times
      incomprehensible and even inscrutable. Although we want to believe,
      sometimes it is difficult to sustain that belief. Sometimes we just need
      a little help. In the course of every day, we can see God’s love and
      care for us, but most of the time that tangible evidence slips by
      unremarked and doesn’t even enter into our awareness. We fail to see the
      evidence that confirms our faith in God. Even though we ignore the proof
      that God gives us daily, still out of His love for us, He provides that
      extra that we need, just as He did for Thomas. But still we have to want
      to believe, we have to be looking for and expecting God’s help. Thomas,
      after he expressed his doubt, did not turn his back on the others and
      abandon his belief. He remained with the other apostles, he wanted to
      believe and expected that God would provide for him the confirmation of
      his belief that he needed. He was not so much unlike the father of the
      possessed child who cried out “Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief.”
      Our Lord Jesus Christ heard the prayer in Thomas and tested his faith
      even further in that He did not return to the apostles for another eight
      days. This is how it is with us too – God will give to us the evidence
      of our faith, however, He will always do so in a way that will demand
      that we exercise what faith we do have so that it might be made stronger.

      We begin with faith, like a grain of mustard seed. It is small; it is
      dry; it is hard. But it is also full of potential. When that seed of
      faith is planted in our receptive and believing heart and when it is
      watered with the grace of the Holy Spirit then it begins to grow. The
      small dry seed is moistened by grace and the shell breaks away and the
      plant begins to grow. The flower of faith in us is tested by the storms
      and tempests of this life. It is pulled to and fro by desires and
      temptations that try to uproot it. It faces the setbacks of our own
      doubts and unbelief. But as long as it exists in us, it continues to
      grow and become stronger. We cannot expect our faith to become a fully
      mature tree full of flowers and fruit overnight, but we must nurture it
      by looking for those small daily confirmations that God gives to us and
      when times become difficult to cry out to God and ask for more help to
      keep our faith alive. When we cry out, “Lord I believe, help Thou my
      unbelief,” then He will come to us in our hour of need and help us
      saying, “be not faithless, but believing”

      The Holy Apostle Thomas developed a strong faith and it continued to
      grow in him. His faith led him unquestioningly to follow the path that
      our Lord set before him, away from Jerusalem, away from the land of
      Israel, across many miles all the way to the land of India where he
      brought the Gospel to those living there. It is inspiring to read the
      life of the Apostle and to see the great flowering tree of his faith,
      heavy with fruit. However, today, we see only the small fragile plant of
      faith that required much care and nurture, which was buffeted and
      plagued by unbelief. Let us take courage in knowing that our faith, as
      small and weak as it is will grow to be a great tree, just as did that
      of the Apostle. All we have to do is to embrace even the small daily
      evidences of His care and providence and to heed the words of our Lord
      to “be not faithless, but believing”

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