2nd Sunday of Pascha; Thomas Sunday “Believing disbelief” is the most important part of the story. Text and Audio.

There are several important parts to the story of the encounter of the Apostle Thomas with the risen Lord, such as why the first words Jesus spoke to the assembled apostles were “Peace be unto you”, the promise of the sending of the Holy Spirit and the power that Jesus gave to His Apostles to remit sins. The most important gleaning from the reading is none of these, but is understood in the blunder of St Thomas, and his subsequent behavior, which led to his full enlightenment, and gave him the privilege to be the first to proclaim in the scripture that Jesus is fully God and man. We are all much like Thomas in his mistakes; let us also investigate his great virtue, which the church calls “believing disbelief”, without which, scarcely one would be saved.

Christology and moral teaching in the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus Christ. Sunday of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council.

The Christology of the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus Christ (which He made just before His arrest on Holy Thursday) is explained, and then the moral application of this prayer which is as important as the dogma in it is discussed. Our Lord proves that He is equal to the Father, and gives us two instructions on what we must do to be saved. Both instructions are intimately related to His relationship with the Father, and consequently what our relationship should be with God and our neighbor.

7th Sunday of Pascha – Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council Why do we commemorate the First Ecumenical Council and read the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus between Ascension and Pentecost?

7th Sunday of Pascha – Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council. Why do we commemorate the First Ecumenical Council & read the High Priestly prayer of Jesus between Ascension & Pentecost? John 17:1-13 John 17:1-13 2010   Holy Fathers Read More …

The Sunday of the Blind Man. What must I do to be saved?

The story of the healing of the blind man who washed in the pool of Siloam is a primer on what we must do and must not do – to be saved. We discuss some very important dogma presented at the beginning of the reading (what does it mean when is says Jesus “passed by” – it is something very specific, personal and important, questions abut sin, what our Lord’s important statement about work during the day means), and then we look at the character of the blind man, and the ruling Jewish elite. A clear pattern emerges of the things WE must do, and the things that God will do it we do these necessary things.

5th Sunday of Pascha – The Samaritan Woman. Literacy, thirst, humility. zeal.

he story of the woman at the well, the Samaritan woman, Photini, must be understood in a historical, theological, mystical and practical context. She said “the well is deep”, and this story can be discussed from many perspectives, many of which are, alas, unintelligible to most because of their low level of theological knowledge and interest. The most important one for us is what we must do do get the living water, the Holy Spirit. Saint Photini shows us several things that we MUST be if we are to be saved – theologically literate, having thirst for righteousness, humility, and zeal. Her conversation with the Lord and subsequent actions show all these things. Audio also available.

The Myrrhbearing Women. Joseph became bold and who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

The most important parts of the reading for the Holy Myrhhbearers are the actions of Joseph and the myrhhbearers. We are told that “Joseph became bold” – the same man who had been a secret follower of Christ because of fear. Why did he become bold? This is very important. Three of the myrhhbearers observed the burial of Jesus. Why is this important? Life is full of ordinary things,. but sometimes when we do them, they are extraordinary,. We must do ordinary things in an extraordinary way, as did Joseph and Nicodemus and the Holy Myrhhbearers. In doing these things, we will encounter obstacles, and ask like the myrhhbearers “who shall roll away the stone”, and if have fidelity to Christ as they had, the stone will always be rolled away.

Sunday of the Holy Myrhbearers. Homilies in Text, audio, and questions and answers

Today is the third Sunday after Pascha, and it is the Sunday of the myrrh-bearing women. And it is quite an interesting reading which we have because these women and these men, Joseph of Arimathaea, who is mentioned today, and also Nicodemus, who acted with great love, but also in great ignorance. They were trying to do something that they were not going to be able to accomplish. These women wanted to anoint the Lord with myrrh, and Joseph and Nicodemus had prepared the Lord’s body so carefully, wrapping it in clean, fine linen. Myrrh and aloes had been applied, according to the custom of the Jews. All this they did in ignorance. They acted without full knowledge, but with great desire and with great love.

There is a lesson for us. Pascha is God making man able to know God. This is really what Pascha is. It is not an event only; it is a fundamental change in human nature. The God-man becoming incarnate made us able to live. He accomplished our salvation by His death and His resurrection, and basically all of the period from Pascha to Pentecost we think about how He enlightens us and the practical ramifications of what Pascha means for the soul. In essence, it means enlightenment. It means to know God. But to know God you have to be able to live like God, and you must live in virtue before you have full enlightenment. ? (text homily)
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The story of the myrhhbearers is like ours, in microcosm. Life is full of moments when we must “become bold” as Joseph (and the myrhhbearers) did, and do what is right, even if we do not how we can accomplish the task (roll away the stone and deal with the armed guards) or what will come of it. Even when we have accomplished something, or grace visits us, we may not recognize it or understand it, just like the myrrhbearers, who were afraid after hearing the announcement of the resurrection from the angel. The myrhhbearers who us the way – do what is right, or even what we think is right, no matter ho “possible” it seems or how likely that the outcome will be pleasing, and in time, all will be revealed to us. This Gospel continues the theme of how the enlightenment of the resurrection is actualized in us (audio homily)

Plus more homilies and questions & answers about the myrhhbearers
a few examples:
* Where was Jesus buried? Is there any significant meaning to this place?
* The Gospel reading for the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing women includes the name of one man. There was another man also involved who was mentioned in another place. Describe who they were and what they did. Don’t just describe cold historical facts – what do their actions mean?
* A great stone was rolled across the entrance to the sepulchre, sealing it. Can we understand anything from this?

Thomas Sunday – “Believing disbelief” is the most important part of the story. and Why are the altar doors open on pascha? When are they closed and what does it mean? – 2 homilies

There are several important parts to the story of the encounter of the Apostle Thomas with the risen Lord, such as why the first words Jesus spoke to the assembled apostles were “Peace be unto you”, the promise of the sending of the Holy Spirit and the power that Jesus gave to His Apostles to remit sins. The most important gleaning from the reading is none of these, but is understood in the blunder of St Thomas, and his subsequent behavior, which led to his full enlightenment, and gave him the privilege to be the first to proclaim in the scripture that Jesus is fully God and man. We are all much like Thomas in his mistakes; let us also investigate his great virtue, which the church calls “believing disbelief”, without which, scarcely one would be saved.

also:

Five minutes in between Vespers and Matins at the Vigil for Thomas Sunday about the closing of the altar doors, which have been open all of Bright week. There is profound and sobering symbolism concering the closing of the doors which we should understand.