This, the Sunday After Pascha, is known as the Antipascha and is dedicated to St. Thomas the Apostle. The three most important themes that stand out in the reading for this Sunday are that of mission, peace and the theme of faith and doubt; thus the term Doubting Thomas.
Jesus’ first words as the Risen Christ to His disciples were that of peace, “Peace be with you” and to the sorrowful women, He greeted them with the word. “Rejoice”. Jesus’ greeting fulfilled the words He spoke 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”.
In the New Testament God’s gift of peace is now a present reality in Christ. Peace is one of the fruits of the experience of salvation through Jesus Christ. God’s Peace which is far beyond human understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.
As Orthodox Christians we have been given “the task of making others God’s friends also.” We are called upon to be peacemakers, between people and God, and between people themselves. This is our calling as we embark, as did the disciples on this first Sunday, on a life of faith, mission and peace in the Risen Lord.