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!