Day 8/50 of Eastertide (Holy Fifty Days) – Thomas Sunday – St. Cyril the Pillar of Faith

“And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then said He to Thomas, Reach here your finger, and see My Hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My Side: and be not faithless, but believing.” (Jn 20:26-27)

Christ appeared once more unto His disciples miraculously by His Divine power. For He did not, like us, bid them open the doors for Him to enter in, but disdaining, as it were, the natural sequence of events, passed within the doors, and unexpectedly appeared in the middle of the room, presenting the same kind of miracle before the sight of the blessed Thomas as He had performed on the former occasion. For he that was most deficient in faith had need of healing medicine.

He made use of the greeting so often on His Lips, and solemnly gave them the blessed assurance of peace, as a pattern unto us, as we have said before. One may well be amazed at the minuteness of detail shown in this passage. For such was the extreme accuracy that the compiler of this book took pains to observe, that he is not content with simply saying that Christ manifested Himself to the holy disciples, but explains that it was after eight days, and that they were gathered together. For what else can their being all brought together in one house mean?

We say this to point out the diligent care that the Apostle so admirably displays, and because Christ hereby has made clear unto us the occasion of our assembling, and gathering ourselves together on His account. For He visits, and in some sort dwells with, those assembled together for His sake, especially on the eighth day, that is, the Lord’s day. Let us reckon it up, if you so please: On the one occasion He appeared unto the other disciples; on the other, He manifested Himself to them, when Thomas was also present. It is written in the preceding passage: When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut, He stood in the midst.

Note, that it was on the first day of the week, that is, the Lord’s day, when the disciples were gathered together, that He was seen of them, and that likewise also He appeared to them on the eighth day following. And we must not, because he says eight days after, suppose that he means the ninth day, but that when he says this he includes the eighth day itself, on which He appeared, in the number given.

With good reason, then, are we accustomed to have sacred meetings in churches on the eighth day. And, to adopt the language of allegory, as the idea necessarily demands, we indeed close the doors, but yet Christ visits us and appears unto us all, both invisibly and also visibly; invisibly as God, but also visibly in the Body. He suffers us to touch His holy Flesh, and gives us thereof. For through the grace of God we are admitted to partake of the blessed Eucharist, receiving Christ into our hands, to the intent that we may firmly believe that He did in truth raise up the Temple of His Body.

For that the partaking of the blessed Eucharist is a confession of the Resurrection of Christ is clearly proved by His own Words, which He spake when He Himself performed the type of the mystery; for He brake bread, as it is written, and gave it to them, saying: This is My Body, which is given for you unto remission of sins: this do in remembrance of Me.

Participation, then, in the Divine mysteries, in addition to filling us with Divine blessedness, is a true confession and memorial of Christ’s dying and rising again for us and for our sake. Let us, therefore, after touching Christ’s Body, shrink back from unbelief in Him as utter ruin, and rather be found well grounded in the full assurance of faith

[St. Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel of St. John]

Some points of contemplation and prayer from the above:

+ Lord, thank you for supporting our weak faith when we are most in need of it+

+Lord grant us to stand together on the eighth day, Sunday, in your name together, even if we cannot physically be together but through technology we may, that You appear and dwell among us You promised, and grant us Your heavenly peace+

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