From His Beatitude Sviatoslav on Thomas Sunday: Through the Easter bread, touch and believe in the presence of the Risen Christ

Monday, 02 May 2022, 21:52
Today Christ comes to us through our closure to the world. He tells us: do not run away from the wounds of Ukraine, do not turn the blind eye to the wounds of war that your people are receiving and bearing today. Touch them, because today, in the body of the Ukrainian people, there is a crucified, once again killed, yet resurrected Savior. By touching the wounds of Ukraine, you give Christ the opportunity to touch your personal wounds. It is He who calls us to see His wounds in our wounded soldiers and in the people who have been brought out of the rubbles as victims of Russian missiles and bombings. Do not run away from this reality because there you can touch and see the power of the risen Savior. His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the Father and Head of the UGCC, emphasized this on Thomas Sunday.

 

At the beginning of the homily, the Primate noted that on the eighth day after Easter, we, as a community of disciples, are invited by the Church, like the apostles, to experience moments of encountering with the risen Christ. Then he recalled a passage from today's Gospel that tells us about the disciples' meeting with the resurrected Teacher. For it was to them that He hastened after His resurrection. Christ finds them frightened, behind closed doors.

“What were the disciples afraid of? What was the fear that made them lock the door? Apparently, after the suffering and death of Christ, the apostles felt that they had nothing to say to the world. Because everything they heard from Jesus, what they hoped for, immediately collapsed”, the preacher mentioned.

Here to them, frightened, Christ comes and says: "Peace be with you!" That is, the Archbishop explains, Christ seems to rise to the very bottom of despair and fear and fill it with new life, new meaning. He makes the apostles feel that they are called to proclaim the faith in the risen Christ to the world.

The Major Archbishop therefore draws attention to the fact that when Christ came to the disciples, there was not one among them who had not survived the discovery of the lost. Hence, he suggests a better look at the Apostle Thomas.

“Why wasn't he with everyone? Where did he go? What had he been doing for eight days? How did he feel about it? I think that in God's word today we have a very interesting and profound answer”, the preacher says.

“We know very well how painful it is to lose trust. When someone trusts someone, relies on them, and at some point, a person betrays this trust, the one has a feeling that they will never and will not be able to trust anyone as much as before. We also know how painful the lost faith is - faith in God, in the word of God, how painful the loss of a Teacher who breathed on his disciple with the living word of life. Apparently, the apostle felt that he could no longer live. The resurrected Christ comes to the pain of loss felt by Thomas, who, perhaps for eight days, had been avoiding all others who believed in the resurrection”, says His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

In the long run, The Savior allows the apostle to touch, to put his finger in the wound where the nails were, to put his hand into the side pierced by the spear. Christ does this not so that the disciple may know more but so that he may live longer. Since this moment of touching was a moment of healing

According to the Father and the Head of the UGCC, the story of healing wounds, returning the lost, touching the fullness of life is vital for all who listen to it, experiencing the tragedy of war. “War is always calamity, fear. Today Ukrainian people are experiencing fear. How often do we think that it would be better to shut ourselves off from everything, to escape from the cruel reality that surrounds us?” the preacher says. Thus he assures Ukrainians: “Where we will be able to go beyond our own fear, there we will be able to take a breath of peace that our Savior breathes over us today. This is what He says to me and to you today: touch me and do not be an unbeliever, but a believer. Since faith is man's ability to touch God. This is the meaning of today's holiday in that life-giving touch”.

“Last Sunday we blessed the Easter bread. It is a symbol of the risen Christ, His glorified Body. Today, after the Divine Liturgy, we will share this bread, give it to each other and ask: touch Christ, who comes to you today and speaks in his own word through the Gospel, not that you may know more about Him, but that you may believe in the presence of the Risen God. Let us believe that His victory over the death brought by the enemy is already upon us, and peace for Ukraine for which we pray so much is already coming from the risen Christ, who says: "Peace be with you!"

The UGCC Department for Information


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