St. Thomas Sunday
St. Nicholas Bulletin - May 9, 2021 - Second Sunday of Pascha
Christ is Risen! Христос Васкрсе! Χριστός Ανέστη! Cristo ha Resucitado!
His Bodily Wounds and Ours:
Homily on St. Thomas Sunday from Fr. Philip LeMasters
Christ is Risen!

I was surprised a few years ago in one of my college classes when even the best students were surprised to learn that Christian hope for eternal life includes the resurrection of the body. They were comfortable thinking of human souls experiencing eternal life, but doubted that our actual physical bodies would have any part in the Kingdom of Heaven. Especially on this Sunday of St. Thomas, we celebrate how Christ’s bodily resurrection is the basis of hope for our own.  Today we proclaim that our Savior brings healing and transformation to whole, embodied persons, for that is how He conquered death on the third day.

As we continue to celebrate the glorious good news of this season of Pascha, we recall how Christ called doubting Thomas to faith in His great victory. “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 faithless, but believing.’ Thomas answered Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” Still bearing His wounds even in His glorified body as the God-Man, the Risen Christ brought Thomas to faith through the witness of His own deified flesh.

We have probably heard the story so many times that we have become deaf to its importance. Nonetheless, it remains the case that the Savior’s resurrection is not an escape from the body or the physical world, but instead their healing and sanctification. Likewise, St. John referred in his epistle to that “which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we saw it…” The Apostles saw the Lord after His resurrection with their eyes, touched Him with their hands, heard His voice with their ears, felt His breath on their skin, and even saw Him eat food. (Luke 24: 36-43) The good news that “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” comes from a resurrection in glory of a complete Person with a human body marked by the wounds of torture and crucifixion. His resurrection is not an escape from the body, but its fulfillment. The Eternal Word Who created us by breathing into the dust of the earth now breathes physically on His Disciples as He empowers them to carry out His ministry of bringing salvation to the world, even to the point of forgiving sins in His name. Here are powerful signs of what it means for human beings to be in the likeness of God and partakers of the divine nature by grace.

These are not merely details of ancient history, but reminders that we participate in Christ’s Passover from death to life by how we live as whole, embodied persons. We were baptized physically with water into Christ’s death in order to put Him on like a garment, in order to rise with Him into a new life of holiness. To be blunt, the Christian life is not simply about our emotions, ideas, or opinions; it is not reduced to what we say we believe. For those who are truly in Christ will live in ways that manifest the brilliant life of the resurrection, that radiate the holy light of the Savior’s great victory over sin and death. As St. John put it, “If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

We participate in the new life of our Risen Lord by walking into His light, by embracing as fully as we can the blessed healing of the human being that He has brought to the world. Christ’s Passion was not a matter simply of His feelings, words, or ideas, but of His complete Self-offering through crucifixion, burial, descent to Hades, and resurrection from the dead. He rises in glory with His wounds, and we cannot begin to make sense of His salvation without speaking of the most bodily of realities, such as torture, execution, death, and burial in a tomb that was later found to be empty.

We are probably all tempted at times to think how much easier it would be to serve God if we did not have our particular set of bodily limitations and problems. Some are challenged by physical or mental illness, while others wrestle with passions for the pleasures of food, sex, alcohol, or other substances. Eating disorders and unrealistic expectations of what their bodies should look like ruin the health and well-being of some, while others struggle to accept that their male or female bodies are signs of who they are in God’s image and likeness. Many today ignore the sacredness of the intimate bodily union of man and woman, which makes two into one flesh. The epidemic of pornography in our culture reflects a repudiation of the sacredness of the flesh and blood through which we encounter the living icons of Christ. Some refuse to honor the bodies of their neighbors by becoming blind to the humanity of children in the womb, of people with skin of a different color, or of terminally ill patients in chronic pain. And whether it is greed, sloth, anger, or refusal to help the needy with our time, attention, and resources, there is no sin that does not show itself physically in some way in the lives of those who struggle with it.

No matter what someone’s particular struggles, weaknesses, or failings are, we must respond with compassion, for we too are among the sick who need the Physician. Nonetheless, no physical condition can ever make us sin or do evil. The problem is not that we have bodies, but that we choose to remain in the tomb, that we would rather walk in the darkness than in the light. For it is no sin to be ill or to be tempted in any way. The Lord Himself suffered terribly on the cross and was tempted. It is a sin, however, to let any of our wounds become excuses for not walking in the light as best we can. It is a sin to let anything fill our lives with such darkness that we refuse to open our eyes—and our lives—to the good news of the resurrection. It is a sin when we think that God must remove this or that problem in order to earn our faithfulness, in order to be worthy of our devotion. As we celebrate Christ’s great victory over sin and death, we must not be afraid to expose our wounded selves to Him with humility as we say with St. Thomas “’My Lord and my God!’”

Remember that the Savior has taken upon Himself even the worst bodily wounds. It is through them that He has brought life out of death and brilliant light out of the darkest tomb. He has conquered even death itself. Do you see what that means? Even our darkest inclinations ultimately do not stand a chance against His glory, if we will only expose them to Him, if we will only offer them to Him for healing. And though it probably will not happen instantaneously, our wounds will find healing as we move step by step further into His light. Darkness is simply the absence of light and it disappears when it is illumined. The same Lord Who conquered Hades and the tomb for our salvation, and Who invited Thomas to touch His wounds, will bring us as whole, embodied persons into the new day of His Kingdom if we will only keep turning as best we can from the darkness as we struggle to live faithfully each day in the midst of the problems, pains, and weaknesses that beset us. We must all take that journey one day at a time.

The good news is that Christ does not ask us to conquer sin and death by our own power, for He has already done that. But He does ask us truly to have faith, which requires a faithful life, even as we constantly ask for His mercy and strength to participate as fully as possible in the joy of His resurrection. We will not do that with a fake spirituality that relies purely on emotions or ideas, but as whole persons of flesh and blood enlivened by the One Who made us in His image and likeness and even died and rose again for our salvation. So let us celebrate Pascha by walking in the light as best we can with all our wounds, for that is how we will open ourselves to the light that has made even the tomb radiant with the divine glory. If He can do that to a grave, just imagine what He can do with us.

~Hymnography of the Day~
PASCHAL TROPARION—TONE 1
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death; and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!
THOMAS SUNDAY (2nd Sunday of Pascha) TROPARION—TONE 7
From the sealed tomb, You shone forth, O Life! Through closed doors You came to Your Disciples, O Christ God. Renew in us, through them, an upright spirit, by the greatness of Your mercy, O Resurrection of all!

“Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.”

THOMAS SUNDAY KONTAKION—TONE 8
Thomas touched Your life-giving side with an eager hand, O Christ God, when You came to Your Apostles through closed doors. He cried out with all: “You are my Lord and my God!”

Instead of “It is Truly Meet…”
The Angel cried to the Lady, full of grace: “Rejoice, O pure Virgin! Again, I say: ‘Rejoice, your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb! With Himself He has raised all the dead.’” Rejoice, O Ye people! Shine, shine, O new Jerusalem! The glory of the Lord has shone on you. Exult now, and be glad, O Zion! Be radiant, O pure Theotokos, in the Resurrection of your Son!
 
Priest: “Blessed is the Kingdom…” Choir: Amen. Priest: Tropar 2 1/2 times. Choir: Finishes.
Priest: “In the fear of God …”   Choir: “Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord … “
Priest: “O Lord, save Your people …” Choir: “Christ is risen from the dead … “ (slow version)  
Priest: “Always, now and ever …” Choir: “Let our mouths be filled …”
 
(At the Dismissal, the Priest says: “Glory to You, O Christ….,” and the choir sings “Christ is risen from the dead….” (thrice).
 

~Scripture Readings of the Day~
READERS:
Matins: Lenny Tepsic Epistle: Teddy Sukhernik
Matins Next Week: Nicholas Ressetar Epistle Next Week: Marko Rocknage

EPISTLE: Acts 5: 12-20
 
EPISTLE:    Acts 5:12-20
DEACON:      Let us pay attention. 
PRIEST:        Peace be unto all!
READER:      And with your spirit!
DEACON:      Wisdom.
READER:      The Prokeimenon in the Third Tone: Great is our Lord and abundant in power! His understanding is beyond measure!
CHOIR: Great is our Lord and abundant in power! His understanding is beyond measure!
READER: v: Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God!
CHOIR: Great is our Lord and abundant in power! His understanding is beyond measure!
READER: Great is our Lord and abundant in power!
CHOIR: His understanding is beyond measure!
DEACON: Wisdom!
READER: The Reading is from the Acts of the Apostles.
DEACON: Let us attend!
READER: And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.  Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed. Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison.  But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said,  “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”
PRIEST: Peace be unto you, reader!
READER: And with your spirit! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
CHOIR: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
READER: Come, let us rejoice in the Lord! Let us make a joyful noise to God our Savior! 
CHOIR: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
READER: For the Lord is a great God, and a great King over all the earth.
CHOIR: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
 
АПОСТОЛ:  Дјела Ап. 5:12-20 

Ђакон:         Пазимо
Свештеник: Мир свима!
Читач:          I Духу Твоме!
Ђакон:              Премудрост
Читач : ПРОКИМЕН- глас 3: Велик је Господ наш, и велика је моћ Његова, и познања Његовог нема броја.
Хор: Велик је Господ наш, и велика је моћ Његова, и познања Његовог нема броја.
Читач: Хвалите Господа, јер је добар псалам; Богу нашем мила ће бити хвала.
Хор: Велик је Господ наш, и велика је моћ Његова, и познања Његовог нема броја.
Читач: Велик је Господ наш, и велика је моћ Његова,
Хор: и познања Његовог нема броја.
Ђакон: Премудрост
Читач: читање из књиге дјела апостолских
Ђакон: Пазимо
Читач: А рукама апостолским биваху многи знаци и чудеса у народу; и бејаху сви једнодушно у трему Соломоновом. Од осталих пак нико не смеде да им се придружи, али их народ хваљаше; и све се више умножаваху они који вероваху у Господа, мноштво људи и жена, тако да су на улице износили болеснике и полагали на постељама и носилима, да би кад прође Петар бар сенка његова осенила кога од њих. А стицаше се и мноштво народа из околних градова у Јерусалим доносећи болесне и од нечистих духова мучене, и сви се исцељиваху. Али се подиже првосвештеник и сви који бејаху с њим, секта садукејска, и испунише се зависти, и дигоше руке своје на апостоле, и бацише их у општи затвор. А анђео Господњи отвори ноћу врата тамнице, изведе их и рече: „Идите и станите у храму па говорите народу све речи овога живота."
Свештеник: Мир свима Читачу!
Читач: I Духом Твоме! Алилуиа, Алилуиа, Алилуиа
Хор: Алилуиа, Алилуиа, Алилуиа
Читач: Ходите, обрадујмо се Господу, ускликнимо Богу Спаситељу нашем
Хор: Алилуиа, Алилуиа, Алилуиа
Читач: Јер је Господ - Бог велики, и Цар велики над свима боговима
Хор: Алилуиа, Алилуиа, Алилуиа

LITURGY GOSPEL:  
John 20: 19-31

Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, 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. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also 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 them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

ЈЕВАНЂЕЉЕ:   
Јован 20: 19-31

А кад би увече онога првога дана седмице, и док су врата била затворена, где се бeјаху ученици његови сакупили због страха од Јудејаца, дође Исус, и стаде на средину и рече им: „Мир вам!" И ово рекавши, показа им руке и ребра своја. Тада се ученици обрадоваше видевши Господа. А Исус им рече опет: „Мир вам! Као што је Отац послао мене, и ја шаљем вас." И ово рекавши, дуну и рече им: „Примите Дух Свети! Којима опростите грехе, опраштају им се; и којима задржите, задржани су." А Тома, звани Близанац, један од Дванаесторице, не беше са њима када дође Исус. А други му ученици говораху: „Видели смо Господа." А он им рече: „Ако не видим на рукама његовим ране од клинова, и не метнем прст свој у ране од клинова, и не метнем руку своју у ребра његова, нећу веровати." И после осам дана опет бејаху унутра ученици његови и Тома с њима. Дође Исус кад бејаху врата затворена, и стаде на средину и рече: „Мир вам!" Затим рече Томи: „Пружи прст свој амо и види руке моје; и пружи руку своју и метни у ребра моја, и не буди неверан него веран." И одговори Тома и рече му: „Господ мој и Бог мој!" Рече му Исус: „Зато што си ме видео, поверовао си; блажени који не видеше а вероваше." А и многа друга знамења учини Исус пред ученицима својим, која нису записана у књизи овој. А ова су записана да верујете да Исус јесте Христос, Син Божији, и да верујући имате живот у име његово.
 

~ The Week Ahead: Scriptures and Services ~
May Birthdays
Nicholas Hernjak (May 1), Cody Hewitt (May 2), Jelena Bowser (May 7), Chloe Lewis (May 8), Kaila Chung (May 8), Bobbi Lynn Wenner (May 10), Bella Gilroy (May 10), Meghan Livingston (May 11), Brankica Skinder (May 12), Trenton Petrovich (May 13), Maria Bowers, (May 21), Jelena Lojpur (May 22), Inna Reznitchenko (May 23), Nikki Lewis (May 24), Ryan Spangler (May 25)
May Anniversaries
Michelle & Donald Kingsbury (May 1), Heather & Erik Barber (May 1), Pete & Arlene Barber (May 3), Fr Srboljub & Protinica (May 14), Mike & Carole Radosinovich (May 15), Ben & Jovanka Shaffer (May 15), Rod & Angie Vorkapich (May 20), Sam & Peggy Radanovic (May 25), Nina & Eric Gilroy (May 26), Matt & Pam Healy (May 29), Greg & Haley Book (May 29)
~Bulletin Board~
THE DEADLINE IS APPROACHING
If you are not receiving envelopes and wish to, or receiving envelopes and no longer wish to receive them, or you need to make an address change, please inform the office by May 16!

2021 STEWARDSHIP CARDS
We thank God for you all, and your commitment to Him in the form of your Time, Talents and Treasures. Take some time this week as you complete your card to consider how your offering reflects your thanksgiving to God for all that He has given you: family, kumovi, friends, life, livelihood— and most importantly—Eternal Salvation through the Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ!

DRIVE THRU PICNIC DONATIONS 
We are in need of donations of Apple Strudel, Cherry Strudel, Savory Plain Cheese Gibanica and Potato Salad. If you are able and willing to donate any of these items for our drive thru picnic, please contact Popadija Andreja by May 30th. Please note we are only accepting those items to allow for easier packaging/selling/ordering. Donations can be dropped off in the church hall anytime Friday, June 4th but need to be delivered by 10am on Saturday the 5th.

DRIVE THRU PICNIC—ADVERTISING
If you can help us get the word out by hanging fliers in local establishments, please see Daria Milletics.

SERBIAN/AMERICAN CLUB 2021 DUES
Peggy Radanovic is collecting club dues once again. Please mail your dues to her at her new address (203 Community Circle, Palmyra 17078) or here at church. You may call her with questions at 717-641-4249. Dues are $5 for the year.

ST NICHOLAS SENIORS 2021 DUES
JoAnn Filepas is collecting 2021 dues for the St Nicholas Seniors. Please mail your dues to her at (7054 Red Top Road, Harrisburg 17111). Dues are $5 for the year.

May Charity
OCMC

The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) is the official international mission agency of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) and was created to "establish vibrant Eucharistic communities throughout the world, to develop and support indigenous church leaders, and to strengthen the infrastructure of their churches." OCMC recruits and trains Orthodox missionaries to minister to people in need of spiritual, physical and emotional support. OCMC missionaries are currently serving in Albania, Romania and Tanzania. Orthodox Mission Teams are periodically organized to serve where needed and you may volunteer to participate in this activity. Mission teams have built churches and offered training and services to communities in need. OCMC also operates a Support a Mission Priest (SAMP) program offering financial assistance to priests living in extremely poor areas in more than a dozen countries around the world. Through SAMP donations, priests can tend more fully to the needs of their flock. The donation you make this month will support an Orthodox Christian organization that provides important services and spiritual comfort to many people in Eastern Europe and Africa. Visit the OCMC website at www.ocmc.org for more information.
Church School Corner
We hope you enjoy this new addition to our weekly bulletin. Each week, we will include lessons and activities for our children to help them navigate the Church year. May it enable us all to bear the good fruit of a life in Christ!

Take some time this week to review this with your children or grandchildren by clicking on the button below to download the PDF.