May 13, 2024

Homily Two for the Sunday of Thomas or Antipascha (St. Luke of Simferopol)

“My Lord and My God!”

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on April 28, 1946)

You know how difficult it was for the holy apostles to believe in the resurrection of Christ. You know that even when they saw the Lord appear with their own eyes, some of them doubted, thought that it was a ghost. The most difficult was for the Apostle Thomas to believe.

How can we explain his disbelief? Is it possible to think that his mind was similar to the mind of materialists who believe only in what they can touch, what they can know through rational thinking? Of course not! Saint Thomas, like all the apostles, was very far from this way of thinking, and yet you see how difficult it was to believe.

The fact is that the Apostle Thomas had a fervent, ardent mind. This fervor of mind manifested itself more than once, and was especially pronounced when the Lord Jesus Christ, at the call of Martha and Mary, decided to go to Bethany to resurrect their dead brother Lazarus. His disciples were horrified and said to Him: “Rabbi, how long have the Jews been looking to stone you, and are You going there again?” (John 11:8). And the Apostle Thomas said: “Let us go and we will die with Him” (John 11:16).

Isn't this ardor of mind?

And an ardent mind does not perceive everything extraordinary as easily as a calm mind. To the ardent mind of Thomas it was more difficult than for the calm mind of the Apostle John, the beloved disciple of Christ, to believe in the resurrection of the Lord. And only when the Apostle Thomas saw the risen Lord and put his fingers into the nail wounds, did he exclaim in delight: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).

Now the Lord does not appear to us, now we cannot, like Saint Thomas, put our fingers into His nail wounds, but by faith we know that the Lord lives, by faith we know that He abides with His Father, we know that the Lord dwells in every pure heart that loves Him. We know that the Lord is still among us, in this temple, and listens to our prayers.

Our faith is much weaker than the apostolic faith, although there is no doubt for us that Christ has risen, for this holy truth has long been accepted by the entire Christian world. But our faith requires constant strengthening and warming. How can we strengthen it? How can we warm it up? Like the Apostle Thomas, let us touch the wounds of Christ.

How is this possible? After all, we cannot put our fingers into these wounds. Indeed, we can't. But by faith, by our spirit, burning with love for Christ, we can touch them. We can mentally touch these wounds, concentrate the thoughts of our soul on them, direct our spirit to contemplate them. And with this contemplation, with this spiritual touch, we will strengthen our faith.

Let us look at the hands of Christ, let us look with fear and horror at the bloody hands of the Lord, pierced by nails. After all, these are the hands that healed the blind with their touch. These are the hands that raised up the paralytic, these are the fingers that were placed in the ears of the deaf mute and healed him.

These are the same hands that touched the bed of the widow of Nain’s dead son - and death fled, and the spirit of life entered the dead man. These hands stretched out to receive all of us, their prodigal sons! They stretched themselves out on the cross in order to save us all from eternal damnation and death. They hold by their power the whole world, the whole universe. These hands govern the life of the whole world, from above they bless the whole earth, the whole universe. And these hands are nailed, these hands are bloody!

How can we not look at them with fear and trembling, how can we not shudder in our hearts at the thought of the most terrible atrocity, compared to which all the atrocities that have ever been committed throughout the world are nothing!

Let us fall down before the hands of Christ and kiss them mentally.

Let us look at the feet of Christ. They were also nailed down. Why were they nailed down? Because the Lord walked with His holy feet throughout Palestine, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, walking, calling for repentance, preaching His holy gospel to the world.

This message aroused the devilish anger of the Jewish synagogue, for with His teaching, the divine gospel, and the formidable denunciations of the scribes, Pharisees and high priests, the Lord was destroying their authority in the eyes of the Jewish people, a false, undeserved authority. And the scribes and Pharisees were inflamed with hatred, and decided to nail down these feet so that they would remain in place, so that they would never walk anywhere again. And they nailed these feet to the Cross. And the blood of Christ flowed from His feet.

What should we do when we see these nail wounds? Should we not fall at the feet of Christ, as the sinful harlot fell before them, washing them with her tears and wiping them with the hair of her head? Don't we need to fall in fear, trembling and horror before these wounds of the Lord and receive the same forgiveness of sins that this harlot woman received?

She received not only forgiveness of sins, but Saint John Chrysostom says that she became a virgin again. Has this ever been heard in the world? And this is a fact. The harlot became not only a virgin, but also a sister of Christ!

If so, if such is the power of venerating the feet of Christ, then how can we, burdened with sins no less than that harlot, not fall before the holy wounds of the Lord’s feet, how can we not wash them with tears of repentance, how can we not ask the Lord with all our hearts for the forgiveness of sins! After all, for us, for our sins, the Lord was nailed to the Cross.

Let us turn our gaze to the terrible wound on the chest of Christ, the wound from the spear with which the heart of the God-man was pierced, the heart from which flowed blood and water - that Blood that washed away the sins of the whole world, that Blood that is now given to us in the Mystery of Communion. Let us approach this open heart of Christ. After all, it is full of immeasurable, divine love that embraces the whole world, the love that all sinners were awarded, the love that covered everything and cleansed everything.

Let us approach this terrible wound in the heart of Christ, let us remember the words of the Lord spoken in the Temple of Jerusalem on the day of Mid-Pentecost: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink” (John 7:37).

Let us come and drink the Blood of Christ, let us be saturated with the love of Christ, which pours out in an endless stream from the heart of Christ. This is what it means to spiritually touch the wounds of Christ. Only he touches them properly who, like Saint Paul, can say: “To live is Christ.”

There were many saints who could say these words. Venerable Seraphim of Sarov, Saint Dimitri of Rostov, Saint Pitirim Tambovsky. They all lived only for the Lord Jesus Christ, they all could say: “To live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21).

Let us turn to the people among whom we live and ask each one: “What do you live for?” If we ask a scientist, he will answer: “I live for science.” And we answer him with shame: “And that’s all? For you, only knowledge of nature is important, and the Lord Jesus Christ is nothing to you? Do you never remember the wounds of Christ?” He will say, "I'm too busy to think about it."

Let us turn to politicians and ask: “What do you live for?” They will say: “We live to transform, to improve human life, to carry out reforms that will make people happier.”

And we will say: “Yes, this is a worthy task, but don’t you know that the Lord Jesus Christ already solved this problem much earlier than you in a way that none of you can solve. He showed the only way for people’s lives to be full of light.” They, of course, will not agree with us, they will continue to do their own thing.

Let us turn to ordinary people and ask them: “What do you live for?” They will tell us: “Our life is about caring for our family, about our daily bread, about clothes.” And we will ask them: “Have you never heard that man should not think about his daily bread, not about bread alone, that God knows about all our needs, that if we serve Him with all our hearts, then we will not have to worry about tomorrow?"

Let us turn to the dark, gloomy corners of life and ask those people who are swarming there: “What do you live for?” And only one will answer us: “Our life is in vodka and tobacco.” Others will say: “Our life is in theft, in murder.”

Lord, let us quickly turn away from the darkness, let us leave the darkness in which these unfortunates live. How few are those who, on these holy days, the days of Holy Week, even on Good Friday, observe fasting, thinking that on this day the Lord was nailed to the Cross.

How few are those who remember Christ, how many are those about whom the Apostle Paul wrote a terrible, stunning word: “If he who rejects the law of Moses, in the presence of two or three witnesses, is punished without mercy with death, then how much more severe punishment do you think will be due to the one who tramples on the Son of God and does not consider as holy the Blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and insulted the Spirit of grace?" (Heb. 10:28–29).

God! How many of our people have trampled on Christ, disdained the Blood of Christ, even desecrated this Blood!

Will any of us really hear this condemnation of Paul at the Last Judgment? Will any of us really die an eternal death because we trampled on the Son of God, did not think about the wounds of Christ, did not venerate them, did not embrace them with our faith? It won't happen!

May we turn with all our hearts to the wounds of Christ, may we receive from this eternal source love, holy love!

May the stream of Divine love enter our hearts from the heart of Christ!

And what is said in Solomon’s parables will happen to us: “I love those who love Me” (Prov. 8:17).

He loves all who seek Him, gives His grace to all who remember His wounds and kiss them spiritually.

What will happen to us is what the Lord Jesus Christ Himself said: “Whoever loves Me will be loved by My Father; and I will love him and show Myself to him” (John 14:21).

Anyone who loves Christ will be loved by God, Christ Himself will appear to him, as He appeared to many saints, His chosen ones. He will appear to the one who kisses His wounds with ardent love, who in spiritual delight along with the Apostle Thomas exclaims: “My Lord and my God!”

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Become a Patreon or Paypal Supporter:

Recurring Gifts

Contact Form


Email *

Message *