Reflections

SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER – Divine Mercy Sunday – April 8, 2018

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

1. Believing in the Risen Lord
2. One in the Risen Lord 

Greeting (see the Gospel)
To the disciples gathered as a community
Jesus appeared and wished them peace.
To all of you gathered here
as the community of the Lord,
we wish you Jesus’ own greeting:
“Peace be with you.” R/ And also with you.

Introduction by the Celebrant

1. Believing in the Risen Lord
We believe that Christ is risen and alive. What does that faith mean to us? Is Jesus so much alive to us that we can meet him personally in prayer, listening and speaking to him as a friend to a friend, heart to heart? Do we touch his wounds in those wounded in life whether in their bodies or their hearts? Do we encounter him in our own sorrows? Do we encounter him in our joys and the joys of our friends? Is he alive in our Christian community, and do we encounter him there? Let us pray to the Lord in this Eucharist that he may be real and alive to each and all of us.

2. One In The Risen Lord
We know how discouraged and passive the apostles and disciples of the Lord were when Jesus had died on the cross. When they experienced that he was risen, they knew he was alive and present among them. Their faith in the risen Lord made them one in heart and soul and prompted them to care for one another. What about us? We have come together here in the presence of the risen Lord. Are we all one in him? Do we care for one another?

First Reading: One Heart and One Soul
The early Christian communities strongly believed that the risen Lord was alive among them. Because of this faith, they were “one heart and one soul” and shared with the needy. Do we too have this faith and love?

1 Reading ACTS 4:32-35
The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common.
With great power the apostles bore witness
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great favour was accorded them all.
There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.

Responsorial Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
R. (1) Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R.
I was hard pressed and was falling,
but the LORD helped me.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my saviour.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just:
R.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R.

Second Reading: A Life of Faith and Love
Those who believe in God and in his risen Son Jesus Christ also love their neighbor. They belong to God’s family, just as we do, even though at times we find them strange relatives.

2 Reading 1 John 5:1-6
Beloved:
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God,
and everyone who loves the Father
loves also the one begotten by him.
In this way we know that we love the children of God
when we love God and obey his commandments.
For the love of God is this,
that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome,
for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.
And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.
Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ,
not by water alone, but by water and blood.
The Spirit is the one that testifies,
and the Spirit is truth.

Alleluia John 20:29
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord;
Blessed are those who have not seen me, but still believe!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (John 20:19-31): From Doubt to Faith
For people like us who have not seen the risen Christ, John tells us the story of doubting Thomas who became the believing Thomas.

Gospel John 20:19-31
On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

Commentary:
Some thirty-seven years before today, a child was born in a cave in Bethlehem. The shepherds came to the cave. They saw him and believed. The magi came from different places following the star. They too saw him and believed. His presence confirmed his existence. But today, Mary Magdelene, Peter and the “other disciple” come running. They find an absence. The emptiness of the cave. Has there ever been an event where the absence of a person guaranteed his or her existence? If ever there was one, here is the most perfect one. The emptiness of the cave hits them. They see the absence and believe in his existence. Good News! Perhaps it is when we can’t find God in our lives at certain moments that He is most alive and present to us. Let us feel the absence and believe.
May Christ Easter in us all!

Blessing
Our task is not easy.
We are utopians, people dreaming great dreams
of being a real community,
of building a new and better world in Christ.
These dreams will never be realized in full
because we are limited, human, weak,
but we can go on trying and growing.
This is the challenge of our faith.
We can do it if Christ is really alive among us.
May God bless you for this task,
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.

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