Last week at the AGAPE Vespers, which we celebrated on Pascha morning, we heard the story of when Christ first appeared to His Disciples after His Resurrection. While they were gathered, locked in a room by themselves “for fear of the Jews,” Christ appeared to them. We too were, not quite locked up but, in our homes for fear of a virus. Unfortunately, Saint Thomas was not present to see Christ for Himself, so he refused to believe the word of his friends, the other Disciples.
Today, eight days later, we hear the rest of the story. This time St Thomas was in the room when Christ appeared, and this time He believed. Christ said, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe." (John 20.29) Jesus is talking about us.
Today we sit eight days after celebrating the glorious Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, albeit quietly in our homes with only our family. Today we are able to believe that Christ is Risen, not because we have seen Him for ourselves, but because holy people like St Thomas and the other Disciples, and “by over five hundred brethren at once,” (1 Corinthians 15.6).
Today we have been blessed, not by seeing Jesus’ body, not by touching His wounds, but simply by our willingness to believe the witness given by those before us. Today, we may not be able to touch His wounds, but our faith in His Resurrection is no less life changing because we are forced to remain in our homes. In fact I believe for some of us, our faith has grown stronger, and our desire for Holy Communion has increased.
Every generation of Christians is faced with physical and spiritual struggles. Our current health crisis has been presented to our generation, in this place and in this time. We have a choice to make. We can either wait until we can see Christ to believe Him, or we can believe because others have seen Him. Unfortunately we don’t know just when we will be allowed to reopen our Cathedral for public worship, but that doesn’t have to stop our faith in Him.
The Apostles hid a room for fear of the Jews who were trying to kill them. They were not weak, and we are not weak by staying at home during this crisis. Christ still visits us in our hearts to bless us with His Resurrection. Don’t waste it on selfish arguments as God reminds us, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 45.11)