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All Saints Sunday 2017

For the one who had achieved theosis, they knew the only true joy on earth, and the only way to enter into a deeper relationship with God, was to escape from the prison that was their own false self. Theirs was the way of the cross, and a life of self-denial.

The Apostle Thomas

Thomas the Apostle has often been considered and looked up with scorn and derision. He is, as some might suggest, the dumb apostle. This would be inaccurate, dangerous and very wrong. 

When Christ appeared behind closed doors on the Eighth Day, in yet another Post-Resurrection appearance, Thomas looked upon the Lord with wonder and amazement. His reaction is noteworthy. He did not simply affirm Christ's Resurrection by offering something casual, for example, "It is true. The other disciples who were present last week were correct; you are Risen." Thomas' discovery was much more jolting. 

No, Thomas became the first apostle to confirm the Divinity of Christ when he exclaimed, "(My Lord and) My God" (John 20:28).

The wounds which Christ invited Thomas to touch nine days after the Crucifixion were different. On the Eighth Day they were clean, full of light, and it would be correct to add, even very beautiful. These are the wounds which Thomas touched and learned that Christ is God. 

Similarly, our path to an encounter with Christ and God is often through touching the wounds of others: the sick, the poor, the needed, the hungry; those who are imprisoned, humiliated, and treated as at best, marginalized; worst, as complete outcasts. 

As our spiritual lives continue to develop, God can often seem far away, as if he is hiding his face from us. The Prophet Job experienced this distancing from God, too. "I look to the east, and he is not there. I look to the West, and I do not find him" (Job 23:8).

In order to activate the Holy Spirit within us, we must perform corporal and spiritual acts of mercy; that includes that touching the wounds of others is required to enter into that deep and beautiful relationship with the Son and the Father.

Thomas touched the wounds of Christ, and discovered God. Whose wounds are we touching, so that we can come to the same revelation as Thomas? And be able to exclaim with joy and certainty, "My God."

V. Rev. Marc Vranes

Antipascha, 2017

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