"Peace is the summit and fruit of meeting the resurrected Christ", the Head of the UGCC on St. Thomas Sunday

Monday, 24 April 2017, 19:19

Today, on Sunday after Easter, we recall such an event: on the eighth day after His Resurrection, Jesus comes to His disciples through the locked doors, searching for the faith in one of His presently unbelieving apostles – Apostle Thomas. Christ shows him His hands and feet, wounds on His glorified resurrected Body, and grants His disciples the joy of seeing the resurrected Christ, present among the apostles. And the summit of the meeting is the confession of faith on the part of the previously unbelieving apostle Thomas: "My Lord and my God!"

With such words on April 23 the Father and Head of the UGCC His Beatitude Sviatoslav addressed the faithful during his homily at the Arch Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Together with the Head of the Church celebrated the liturgy the Bishop Josyph, Bishop auxiliary of Kyiv archeparchy of the UGCC. 

In the preacher's opinion, two events (Resurrection of Christ, which we celebrated last week, when we saw Christ coming out of the sealed and closed tomb, and today's event, when Christ comes to his disciples through the shut doors) − are deeply connected. Even more, one event explains the meaning of the other one.

"Today we see that Christ was not alone when He resurrected. The event of the Resurrection related not only to Him. In the resurrected Christ the whole mankind resurrects", explained the Head of the Church. The Lord in His Resurrection descended to the very bottom of hell and opened all the doors  − everything that estranged a man from God.

In a similar way today He, too, comes to his disciples through the shut door in order to give them power to meet the Resurrected Lord, and hence go into the world and baptize all the people in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and to carry the good news of the Gospel about the absolution of sins by the power of that Spirit Whom He grants them today.

"Christ overcomes all kinds of estrangement of a man from God, overcomes a human withdrawal from God, which is symbolized by the shut door, behind which the apostles are hiding, − he added. − A man closed before God − is clearly portrayed in the state of the apostles who are waiting for their Resurrected Savior." So, according to his words, Jesus first makes a step towards those who are closed, gives him/her His hand and an opportunity to touch His Resurrected  Body, makes this person open and gives him/her a chance to stop being afraid, changes fear into joy.

The preacher is convinced that the summit and fruit of this meeting is peace. The word "peace" comes across in today's Gospel not less than three times. This is the peace which is the fruit of unity between God and a person, peace which is the change of the inner state of a person, peace which takes away fear, and then a person, by opening himself/herself to the world, can share it with others.

The Primate of the UGCC went on to observe that the image of the disciple, who is closed and is waiting for his /her personal resurrection in faith, is the image of each of us: "Today the Church encourages everyone to meet the resurrected Christ, pave our own way in faith. Since in the contemporary world even those who called themselves Christians very often get closed, because of fear of the world, cruel reality, for the sake of saving themselves, their convictions and their lives. We think that we are safer this way but Christ today calls us for something totally different." Jesus, as he continued, invites us to complete a way in faith: "He first steps towards us and breaks all the doors behind which we close ourselves from that world He is sending us to."

According to the words of His Beatitude Sviatoslav, today in Ukraine, when we look at her society, wounded by the fear of war, and when we analyze those social processes that are going on as a result of that difficult reality in which we are living, there can be seen the process of estrangement. "People, in order to protect themselves from the cruel circumstances, try to save themselves by distancing from their country, society, from each other, from our Lord and our Church. Today Christ ruins this estrangement, calls us to step in peace towards God, Who comes to us, and calls us to be bearers of peace and victory: that peace which only Christ can give, that victory which Christ brings into our lives, as the only and ultimate winner over death and any kind of evil," said the Head of the UGCC.

In the end the preacher called on the faithful: "Let us open our doors for Christ! Today at the end of the liturgy we are going to share Paschal Bread, Artos, which was blessed last week as the symbol of the glorified resurrected Body of our Savior. It is a kind of invitation which Christ addressed to His disciple saying: "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." So today, partaking of the Body and Blood of our Savior, receiving Paschal Bread into our hands, let us open ourselves towards Him and say: "My Lord and my God!"

The UGCC Department of Information