Sunday of Saint Thomas
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me,
even though he dies, will live
John 11: 25.
It is no wonder that our Lord is named after many good things in the gospel narratives. If we look at the names by which the Son of God is called, we understand how many of these good things He is for us. One good thing is life and Jesus describes himself as LIFE. Another good thing is the light of the world when it is true light that enlightens seekers after salvation. And the Son of God is called to be all these things. Another good thing, in addition to life and light is truth. A fourth is the way that leads to truth. Our Saviour teaches us that He is all these things when He insists, "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life."
How exhilarating and wonderful it is that our Lord shook off the earth and mortality in his human nature, to rise again! And it is we who have obtained this benefit from the Lord that He is the resurrection at the time of the death of Lazarus. He says, "I am the resurrection." The door through which one enters into the greatest joy is also good, so our Lord insists for us, "I am the door." We must not neglect mentioning the Word who is God after the Father of all. Happy then are those who accept these truths from the Saviour and receive them from those who announce God's blessings.
So we see that in Christ there is no sunset; there are only sunrises. He is the "bright morning star" not the evening star. He heralds the dawn's brightness, not the dark. He does not conduct funerals, because He is resurrection, for himself and for all of us who are faithful to him. Because of him we rise as well. He is the source of our resurrection. He resurrects continually our mind, our body, our spirit, our hopes, our outlook, our every thing. In him we are victorious even now.
We salute the resurrection in which He triumphs. We believe in the resurrection because He obtained it for us. We already know resurrection joy because each time we sin, each time we fall and receive forgiveness in the sacramental Mystery of Reconciliation, we rise from spiritual death to life-imparting resurrection.
Thus, our experience as followers of Christ is different from that of Thomas. As believers we already know resurrection from the captivity of sin. History is replete with those who have delusions of grandeur about themselves. Some have even been willing to die for their cause. But like all men, they were defeated by death. As we dig up their graves, we find the remains of their bodies. But that is precisely what makes Christ so unique. He predicted his death, his burial and that after three days would come out of the grave victorious over death.
Orthodox believers do not need what Thomas wanted. Through his death we are redeemed and through his blood our sin is washed away. Christ's resurrection validates what He did on the cross. Resurrection for the believer is the sweetest word human ears can hear.
Four hundred years before Christ, the Greek philosopher Socrates lay dying from poison. He was considered the wisest teacher in the world, but when his friends asked, "Shall we live again?" he could only answer, "I hope so, but no man knows for sure."
In the Book of Job, another man asks the same question "If a man dies, shall he live again" Job 14: 14? It is an age old question and haunts many people and tests every religious persuasion - the most crucial question of the ages. St. Paul reminds us that some live all their lives in bondage to the fear of death. "...Jesus likewise had a full share in ours, that by his death he might rob the devil, the prince of death, of his power and free those who through fear of death had been slaves their whole life long" Hebrews 2: 14,15.
Thomas was apparently one of those who thought that way. He was looking for contrary proof. Without some assurance of life after death, death becomes a terrifying proposition. So today is proof of why we can celebrate the resurrection because it answers that age-old question once and for all. The resurrection takes us out of the realm of mere speculative thinking into actual experience. Today we are shown there is life beyond this life!