Spiritual growth is directed to the Lord Jesus Christ, for through Him the whole body is
well ordered and joined together (cf.Eph.4:16). The more the Gospel
is preached, the more the Church of Christ grows and is perfected. Co-responsibility is one
of the essential conditions for the perfection of the Body of Christ. The Holy Apostle Paul
knew this, and thus advises the Corinthian Christians with the words: "That there should be
no schism in the body, but (that) the members should have the same care for one another.
( Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Eastern America Dr. MITROPHAN
The Teachings of Saint Apostle Paul on the Church.
Translation Protopresbyter Stefan Zaremba. 2001, p. 7
· The continued celebration of the Resurrection.
· The presence of joy in the Church.
· The "newness" accompanying the celebration of Pascha.
Recent Activities of Parish Priest
April 28 - Attended concert by St. Sava School of Theology seminarians held at
Holy Trinity Cathedral, Pittsburgh.
April 29 - Pastoral visit to parish family. Attended Baptism of Katrina Blagojevic at
Holy Ascension Serbian Orthodox Church, Youngwood.
From the Desert Fathers
It was said of Abba Or and Abba Theodore, that they laid good foundations,
and at all times gave thanks to God.
Thomas Sunday 2006
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the
disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them,
"Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then
the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with
you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed
on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they
are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." Now Thomas, one of the
twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him,
"We have seen the Lord." but he said to them, "Unless I see his hands and the print of the
nails, and place my finger in his side, I will not believe." Eight days later, his disciples
were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and
stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger
here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be fairthless,
but believing." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him "Have you
believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."
A newness permeates the air. Pascha brings with it a newness that is unique to Pascha.
The celebration of Christ rising from the dead transforms the world.
The present Gospel message speaks about the forgiveness of sins. A weight is lifted
from the shoulders, the heart, mind and soul when the forgiveness of God is experienced.
Believers know in their hearts when they are forgiven by God. Words are not sufficient
to describe the experience of forgiveness. Joy takes hold in the heart and soul of the person.
Trust and belief in God is necessary to experience forgiveness. The love of God becomes
known to the forgiven people. A new beginning in life is possible.
When we have the opportunity for a new life in Christ, the question becomes will we be
true to that opportunity throughout the remaineder of our lives?
Do we fortify our faith with nourishment from the Holy Gospel? Do we fortify our faith
by repentance and partaking of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ?
Do we establish our homes as dwelling places for God? Do we establish our homes as
"small churches" true to the Holy Gospel?
Do we live in our homes in ways consistent with the teachings and
life of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Do we protect our hearts as dwelling places of God?
Do we use our minds in ways pleasing to God?
Do we examine our faith carefully, determining if we are growing in Christ?
Do we treat our faith with the same care and attention we treat our homes,
our time and our money?
Have we grown in Christ since the time of our Baptism? Do we seek to be knowledgeable
about the Lord Jesus Christ?
Does love permeate our life in Christ? Have we experienced the Resurrected Christ in
the way we live that we can say with St. Thomas: "My Lord and my God!?"
Do we spend each day preparing for the Second Coming of Christ? Are we sensitive to
the suffering in the world? Do we try to make the world a better place by the way we live?
Self-examination is important for Christians. We experience Christ at Pascha. We renew
our relationship with Christ at Pascha. We partake of Christ's Precious Body and Blood.
We learn of the far-reaching celebrations of Pascha.
We learn of miracles identified with the celebration of Pascha.
We learn of the sacrifices of individuals made to celebrate Pascha.
Pascha is celebrated in cathedrals in large cities. Pascha is celebrated on the
Holy Mt. Athos. Pascha is celebrated in Jerusalem, in Belgrade, in Kosovo, in Moscow,
in Buenos Aires, in Toronto and in many other places.
The message of Pascha is the same: "Christ is Risen!" The message that "Christ is Risen!"
is expressed in many different languages. At times different languages are used in the Divine
servicces to celebrate the rising of Christ.
Thomas came face to face with the Risen Christ. Thomas was convinced of the Resurrection
of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thomas' conviction has helped many others through the centuries
to be firm in faith.
The Holy Orthodox Church wants believers to review the Gospel lesson about St. Thomas each
year. The Gospel lesson focuses on the closeness with which Thomas experienced the Risen Christ.
We can experience the Risen Christ in ways that are convincing if we draw near to Christ
in fear and in faith. Partaking of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ is a primary way to
Immersing ourselves in the Holy Gospel is a way we can experience Christ in a convincing
way. Living in ways pleasing to God including being steadfast in prayers results in coming
to know Christ in ways hitherto unkown.
Serious believers of extended duration learn of anecdotal lessons of individuals being
helped and healed by Christ. "The exclamation: "My Lord and my God" is repeated many times
over by individuals meeting the Risen Christ.
The way we live affects our life in Christ.
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
Thomas Sunday 2006
April 17 / April 30, 2006
Fr. Rodney Torbic
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