Dear Parish Faithful,
CHRIST IS RISEN!
Pascha - The Thirteenth Day
St. Gregory Palamas continues in his homily on The Sabbath and the Lord's Day, to draw some of the consequences and effects upon the believers to their commitment to the Risen Christ on the Lord's Day. This commitment needs to be as thorough as possible for members of the Church:
Let no one out of laziness or continuous worldly occupations miss these holy Sunday gatherings, which God Himself handed down to us, lest he be justly abandoned by God and suffer like Thomas, who did not come at the right time. If you are detained and do not attend on one occasion, make up for it the next time, bringing yourself to Christ's Church. Otherwise you may remain uncured, suffering from unbelief in your soul because of deeds or words, and failing to approach Christ's surgery to receive, like the divine Thomas, holy healing. There exist not only thoughts and words of faith but also deeds and acts of faith - "Show me," it says, "your faith by your works" (cf. Jas. 2:18) - and if someone abandons these and is completely distanced from the Church of Christ and given over wholly to worthless pursuits, his faith is dead, or non-existent, and he himself has become dead through sin."
I shall tell you, in your charity, something which has just occurred to me. I noticed that Thomas lost his faith when he was absent, but when he was together with the believers his faith did not in any way fall short. So I have the idea that if only a sinner will flee the company of immoral men and associate with the just, he will never be found lacking in righteousness or the resultant salvation of his soul. It seems to me that the psalmist and prophet was hinting at this when he called blessed the man who avoided sitting with the scornful and being their companion (cf. Ps. 1:1). Another prophet writes, "Thou shalt not follow the multitude to do evil" (Ex. 23:2), and the author of Proverbs says, "Where sinners gather, the fire breaks out" (Ecclus. 16:6), "but he that walks with wise men shall be wise" (Prov. 13:20).
St. Gregory Palamas (+1359) - Homily on the Sabbath and the Lord's Day