St Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
161 N. Murphy Ave. Sunnyvale, CA 94086
Thomas Sunday

Thomas Sunday - Antipascha

Christ is risen!

These days of Pascha are filled with so much light and so much joy! I pray with all my heart that each one of you are able to absorb this light and joy and to be blessed during these all holy days.

Today is the Sunday after the great feast of Pascha, the resurrection of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ. On this Sunday we commemorate the Holy Apostle Thomas and the very important scene described for us in today’s Holy Gospel.

The Apostle Thomas was hearing reports from many, including his own dear friends, the other apostles, that they had seen Jesus Christ alive… risen from the dead! But Apostle Thomas was careful, heeding the words of Christ, not to be swayed by those who might say we have seen Him here or there. Thomas declared: ‘Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe.’

Eight days later, the opportunity came for the Apostle Thomas. While the disciples were gathered together in a shut room, the Lord appeared to them declaring: ‘Peace be unto you.’ And then the Lord does something which is truly astounding… He invites Thomas to come to Him and says: ‘Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.’ And having felt the wounds in Christ’s hands, and having placed his hand into Christ’s side, Thomas fell at the Master’s feet and said, ‘My Lord and my God!’

The degree of self-sacrificial love of our God is unfathomable! Our Lord Jesus Christ, the pre-eternal second Person of the Holy Trinity, needing nothing and wholly Self-sufficient and sitting upon His throne in Heaven… not only humbles Himself to become incarnate, to lie in a lowly manger as a human infant, to subject Himself to this world and to the devil’s temptations, and to the humiliation of His voluntary sufferings and death… After all this outpouring of His Self-sacrificing love, when He has already emerged triumphant and reappears in His glorified body, He continues now to demonstrate His mercy and His extreme humility and tender lovingkindness for His children by offering and subjecting Himself to physical examination by Apostle Thomas.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the depths and the breadths of the compassionate love of God are beyond our comprehension!

May God grant that His demonstration of self-sacrificial love and of His continued offering of Himself for our sake might move our hearts to begin to do the same… loving God and loving those in our lives with at least some measure of this compassionate love.

Where can we see this self-sacrificing compassionate love in our world today? With all of the horrors and dysfunctions we behold in the news every day, we might think that such love has evaporated from the face of this earth. But with such a pessimistic view of things, we would be quite wrong. Though we’ll probably never see it in the headlines of the newspapers or the eye-catching sensationalism of the media… there is such love in this world… and it is quietly going on maybe under our very own noses.

Today is the American celebration of Mother’s Day… and in its best and most wonderful manifestation, the love of a mother is certainly a demonstration of this self-sacrificing, compassionate love – wholly focused on the good and the well-being of her children, a mother will go to the ends of the earth and will stop at nothing to love and support and protect her children.

Allow me to share the following beautiful poem entitled ‘A Mother’s Love’ by Helen Steiner Rice, which captures something of this self-sacrificial love… This poem is not just something sentimental, it contains some very deep spiritual truth. Please listen…


A Mother's Love

by Helen Steiner Rice

A Mother's love is something that no one can explain,
It is made of deep devotion and of sacrifice and pain,
It is endless and unselfish and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it or take that love away . . .
It is patient and forgiving when all others are forsaking,
And it never fails or falters even though the heart is breaking . . .
It believes beyond believing when the world around condemns,
And it glows with all the beauty of the rarest, brightest gems . . .
It is far beyond defining, it defies all explanation,
And it still remains a secret like the mysteries of creation . . .
A many splendored miracle man cannot understand
And another wondrous evidence of God's tender guiding hand.


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this is the kind of courageous and self-sacrificing love which is a reflection and a manifestation of the love of God. May God bless all of those women who give of themselves in the beautiful sacrifice of motherhood. Though you may be overlooked by the world, God sees every sigh, every prayer, every sacrifice you make… and, if you can endure it all in love, He will bless you for it.

I congratulate all the mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, and caretakers on this Mother’s Day. And I congratulate everyone as we continue to celebrate the bright and radiant feast of our Lord’s Resurrection – the ultimate manifestation of that courageous and self-sacrificial love which tramples down death by death and gives life to the world!

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