Christ is Risen!

Христос воскресе!

Xris-tusaq Ung-uixtuq!

Sunday of St. Thomas

The Second Sunday after Pascha, the Ante-Pascha, is dedicated to the memory of the doubting Apostle, Thomas.  Three important themes ring out to us on this Sunday, the theme of peace, mission and the theme of faith and doubt.  Let us recall the first words of the Risen Christ to His disciples, “Peace be with you.”

This greeting as well as those to the women disciples and the men disciples, were the fulfillment of the words spoken to the disciples prior to His crucifixion. “Now you are sad, but I will see you again, and your hearts will be filled with gladness, the kind of gladness that no one can take away”. (John 16:22) and again, “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give to you. I do not give it as the world does.” (John 14:27)

According to the understanding of the Old Testament, true peace was a gift from God, experienced when his presence was felt in the land; “Love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will embrace” (Psalm 85:10).

In the New Testament, God’s gift of peace is now a present reality in Christ, true Peace is one of the fruits of the experience of salvation through Jesus Christ.  Jesus, the crucified Christ, took upon Himself our sins, and the peace, God’s peace, is far beyond human understanding.

St. Thomas, the twin, doubted the disciple’s story of the Resurrection of the Lord and demanded certain requirements before He would believe, but upon seeing Christ before Him, did not hesitate any longer seeing the evidence declaring, “My Lord and My God”, thus acknowledging the Risen Christ, as His Master, and God.

This is the story of this Sunday, the addressing by the Apostle Thomas of the divinity of Christ, as the Risen Son of the Father.  It was this conviction, sealed by Christ’s Resurrection, that empowered Thomas and the other apostles to bring the triumphant message of Christ throughout the nations of the world.

The Apostle, after the Resurrection, preached as far as India, where to this very day, is home to the Oriental Orthodox Churches of Southern India.

So let us with joy remember this day and its importance to us for the centurion at the foot of the Christ was right when he said, “Truly He is the Son of God.”

Christ is Risen – Indeed He is Risen!

Pascha 2021

May 2, 2021

Pascha 2021

May 1, 2021

Holy Saturday 2021

April 30, 2021

Holy Friday 2021

The sacrificial love of women has perhaps the chief civilization influence of society through the ages. When most of us think of sacrificial love, the kind Jesus called His disciples to embody, most of us call to mind our mothers.

I have chosen to focus on the idea of a mother’s sacrificial love on this Mother’s Day.  I have chosen the passage that is read at the reading of the Twelve Gospels on Holy Thursday, where Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd.  I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14-15)

This is a very radical doctrine.  A shepherd who cares so much for his sheep that he dies for them. We can understand the shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep because his family and his livelihood depend on those sheep.  If wolves attack those sheep, he would combat those wolves because that is his job.  The wolves might be dangerous, but this is his job.  He knew the risks when he signed on.  It goes with the territory.

But that is not what Jesus is saying.  Jesus says he is the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep, not because that is his job, but because he cares that much for his sheep.  He values the lives of the sheep more than he values life itself.  Jesus then contrasts himself with a hired hand, when He says, “the hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away – and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.”  Then he adds, “The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep.”  You see only Jesus cares!

You and I can understand dying to protect our family.  Most of us would do that in a heartbeat.  But a sheep, that is not necessary.  But you see, Jesus is not talking about sheep; rather, he is talking about you and me.  Christ was willing to give up his life in our behalf. Christ is no stranger to us, he knows us by name and cares for us individually, “I am the good shepherd.  I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.  And I lay down my life for the sheep”. This is sacrificial love, like a mother’s love.  Sacrificial love is sometimes tough love, it is affirming love and it is forgiving love.

We have just come through Holy Week and Pascha. Have you ever thought of the Cross as being the ultimate act of affirmation?  The Cross tells us how much we matter to God. So today, we honor women, who give sacrificial love to those within their responsibility.  We honor you but most of all give thanks on this Sunday of Ante-Pascha because your love reflects the very love of God.

Our children need to know from us that even though our love must sometimes be tough, they will always be our children.  The door is never closed – just as God’s door is ever open for us!

Christ is Risen!
Happy Mother’s Day!

Annual Parish Photo 2021

Annual Parish Photo 2021

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Thomas Sunday

May 09, 2021 | Fast Free

Daily Readings

Matins Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20
Epistle: Acts of the Apostles 5:12-20
Gospel: John 20:19-31

Feasts & Saints

Thomas Sunday

The Holy Prophet Esaias (Isaiah)

Christopher the Martyr of Lycea

Monk-martyr Nicholas who lived in Vuneni, of Larissa in Thessaly

Epimachos the New Martyr of Alexandria

The New Martyrs of Novo Selo, Bulgaria

Glen Mills, PA

Saint Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church

Saint Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church, a parish of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), is located in Glen Mills, PA serving the Orthodox faithful throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

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