The Feast of Ascension

We celebrate two great feasts on Thursday. The first great feast of the Lord is Great Thursday of the Holy Pascha, on which the Lord gave us the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. The second is the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord into Heaven, after He spent forty days with His disciples. This Thursday is also a Feast of the Lord called the Feast of Ascension.

By the Ascension of the Lord, we mean His bodily Ascension.

Because in His divinity, He is everywhere, He does not ascend nor descend. Therefore, in the Liturgy of St. Gregory we say “And You ascended into the heavens in the body…” This ascension is evidence that His Glorified Body is not subject to the earth’s gravitational laws. It is also evidence of His Divinity. He ascended before His disciples as they were looking. This scene strengthened their faith because the Lord not only resurrected using His Divine power, but He also ascended into heaven in Fathernt of them. (more…)

Fifth Sunday of the Holy Fifty Days

Fifth Sunday (Jn. 14:1-11) presents Christ as the Way, the Truth, and Life, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (Jn. 14:6). As we continue to celebrate the fifty days of Easter, today’s gospel includes Jesus’ promise that he goes to prepare a place for his followers in his Father’s house. Our baptism commissions us to share Jesus’ mission in the world. As First Peter reminds us, we are a holy people, called to proclaim the one who called us out of darkness into light. In words and deeds we bear witness to the risen Christ – our way, our truth, our life. (more…)

Fourth Sunday of the Holy Fifty Days

Fourth Sunday (Jn. 12:35-50) talks about Christ as the Light of the World, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” (Jn. 12:46)


1. It dispels darkness.

  1. There is no such thing as the presence of darkness. Darkness is the absence of light.
  2. When we turn on the light, darkness disappears.
  3. John 1:5 states, “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
  4. John 3:19, 20 “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”
  5. Light reproves the darkness.
  6. Jesus teaching approves that which is right and reproves what is wrong. (more…)

Third Sunday of the Fifty Holy Days

The Living Water. “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst” John 4: 14

Things to remember about the Living Water

1. To receive it, we need to feel the thirst

  • “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” Psalm 42:1-2
  • “…God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water” Psalm 63:1
  • “I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You like a thirsty land” Psalm 143:6 
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” Matthew 5:6 (more…)

Second Sunday of the Fifty Holy Days

Second Sunday of the Fifty Holy Days, Presents to us Christ as the Bread of Life, Who nourishes us. The Heavenly Bridegroom said, “He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6: 35) The Gospel reading of the second Sunday is from (John 6: 35-45). During the Fifty Holy Days, we become acquainted with our Heavenly Bridegroom and discover the power of His divinity, His abundant mercy, His promise to us for eternal life, and sitting with Him in the heavenly places. As we reflect on His loving actions towards us, we become happy, and no one can take away our joy.

Thomas Sunday

Thomas Sunday takes place on the eighth day of the Feast of the Resurrection, and it is one of the Seven Minor Feasts of our Lord. On this day, the Lord of glory appeared to His disciples while they were gathered in the upper room in the presence of St. Thomas. However, Christ appeared to them in the absence of St. Thomas a week before. The disciples repeatedly informed St. Thomas about the appearance of the Lord Christ to them, but he refused to believe them, as he said: “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe” (Jn. 20:25). For this reason, the Lord of glory appeared on the eighth day following the day of His resurrection, and told St. Thomas: “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe” (Jn. 20:27). The result was awesome: it resulted in the confession of St. Thomas that Christ is the Lord and God, as he cried out saying: “My Lord and my God” (Jn. 20:28).

Truly, Saint Thomas is a characterization of a great deal of people who have willingly submitted to worldly concerns; hence, they do not believe unless they see or hear. For this very reason, the Lord of glory is encouraging faith in these people. He even came especially to remove their doubts and strengthen their faith. The Church celebrates this important event because it is considered a day when the truth of the Resurrection is clearly affirmed. Initially, even the disciples, after they witnessed Christ, thought that He was a phantom or a spirit; however, after He proved the reality of His resurrected Body, they believed. Importantly, the Church looks at this day as a confirmation of the resurrection of the Lord of glory; hence, the church uses and considers it a vital aid to every person who requires seeing before believing.

As for the rite of this day, it is the same rite as the days between the Feast of the Resurrection and the thirty-ninth day of the Holy Fifty Days. However, the Doxology of St. Thomas is chanted after the Doxology of the Resurrection, and the hymn of :wmac is chanted after the Praxis reading, or during communion after Psalm 150. The Gospel Response specifically for the feast is chanted, and during the Divine Liturgy the Adam Espasmos particular for the feast is chanted.

May the blessings of this holy day be with us all. Amen.

Mikhail, Deacon Albair Gamal, The Essentials in the Deacon’s Service, (Shobra, Egypt: Shikolani, 2002), p.733. Translated from Arabic by Bishoy K. R. Dawood, edited by Alexander A-Malek.

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