April 23, 2023

Sermon – Thomas Sunday 2023

Pastor’s Sermon

Thomas Sunday

By V. Rev. Timothy Baclig

April 23, 2023

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen! المسيح قام! حقًا قام!

Today’s Gospel, highlights the experience of Thomas. The many lessons that our Lord taught the disciples prior to His passion began to be brought back to their remembrance in His numerous appearances, which took place in the forty-day period following His Resurrection, prior to his Ascension.

The appearance of our Lord mentioned in today’s Gospel is one of eleven Gospel readings heard in the early Orthros service each Sunday, called “The Eothinon” Gospels. Each Sunday, the Eothinon Gospel announces the Resurrection before the Divine Liturgy, similar to the Gospel read at the doors of the Church during the “Rush Procession” at the midnight service before the Liturgy.

The experience of the Apostle Thomas was unique. It is very possible that Thomas, more than any of the other Apostles was the one who actually heard what the Lord was saying before his death. It just sounded impossible that a Messiah, who was expected to restore the Kingdom of Israel, would face such a tragic death. Last night’s Vespers service includes a section that helps us to understand what took place. In a section of the Apostika we hear: “What a miraculous wonder, that a lack of faith became a conviction of faith…” “…the obstinate soul turned with fervor to true faith, ‘My Lord, and my God.’”

The transformation, which began taking place among the disciples, was significant; significant because once the disciples experienced a personal dawning and illumination they were ignited with faith and love to act with conviction. Until this happened nothing would have changed. The Lord who appeared in their midst imparted His Spirit to them (John 20:22). The content of the Gospel message that our Lord taught them had become their own message. It was the good news of the forgiveness of sins that is at the very heart of the Paschal message.