Saturday, April 26, 2014
Second Sunday of Easter
April 27, 2014
Second Sunday of Easter
[Memorial, St. Peter Canisius]
Acts 2:42-47 / Ps 118:2-4,13-15,22-24 / 1Pt 1:3-9 / Jn 20:19-31
First Reading: Acts 2:42-47
They were faithful to the teaching of the apostles, the common life of sharing, the breaking of bread and the prayers. A holy fear came upon all the people, for many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. Now all the believers lived together and shared all their belongings. They would sell their property and all they had and distribute the proceeds to others according to their need. Each day they met together in the Temple area; they broke bread in their homes; they shared their food with great joy and simplicity of heart; they praised God and won the people's favor. And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Second Reading: 1 Pt 1:3-9
Let us praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for his great mercy. In raising Jesus Christ from the dead he has given us new life and a living hope. The inheritance that does not corrupt nor goes bad nor passes away was reserved to you in heavens, since God's power shall keep you faithful until salvation is revealed in the last days. There is cause for joy, then, even though you may, for a time, have to suffer many trials. Thus will your faith be tested, like gold in a furnace. Gold, however, passes away but faith, worth so much more, will bring you in the end praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ appears. You have not yet seen him and yet you love him; even without seeing him, you believe in him and experience a heavenly joy beyond all words, for you are reaching the goal of your faith: the salvation of your souls.
Gospel: Jn 20:19-31
On the evening of that day, the first day after the Sabbath, the doors were locked where the disciples were, because of their fear of the Jews, but Jesus came and stood in their midst. He said to them, "Peace be with you"; then he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples kept looking at the Lord and were full of joy. Again Jesus said to them, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." After saying this he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit; for those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained." Thomas, the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he replied, "Until I have seen in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe." Eight days later, the disciples were inside again and Thomas was with them. Despite the locked doors Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands; stretch out your hand and put it into my side. Resist no longer and be a believer." Thomas then said, "You are my Lord and my God." Jesus replied, "You believe because you see me, don't you? Happy are those who have not seen and believe." There were many other signs that Jesus gave in the presence of his disciples, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; believe and you will have life through his Name.
More than a thousand years ago Jesus liberated the disciples from their fears. The Resurrection so empowered them that they came out of their hiding places and they openly proclaimed the risen Lord as a fundamental belief of their lives. The first reading tells that they went further. They were so overjoyed with the rising of Jesus from the dead that they would be willing to give everything for God. So they sold their properties and shared the sale of the proceeds to members of the community. They took care of one another. Gentiles who saw how the early Christians treated one another were so impressed by their lifestyle so that they commented how Christians loved one another.
The resurrection of Jesus and later the outpouring of the Holy Spirit gave the disciples the power to go out and transform the world. He greeted them with peace and then gave them the power to forgive sins. No one other religious leader had done that before. Now they were able to heal broken bodies but more importantly Christ empowered them to heal people so that they could be reconciled to community and to God.
But there was one problem during the week of rejoicing. Thomas, one of the disciples, was not present when Jesus appeared to the community and when he was informed of the appearances of Jesus he did not believe what he heard. He told them that he would only believe when he would see the nail marks on Jesus' hands and put his fingers on the nail marks and his hands into his side. Jesus came back later and appeared to the community assembled and chided Thomas for his lack of faith. The Thomas event is another happy fault because it is really a lesson for all us. We all believe in the Resurrection even if none of us personally witnessed it. The story of the Resurrection has been transmitted to us through countless men and women in the past. We can think of missionaries, our parents, our teachers, priests or catechists who first taught us the rudiments of our faith.
We need to believe that Christ is with us today in spite of the problems that we encounter. We look at a Church in crisis: a Church ridden with scandals, and with many leaving her. One begins to wonder whether Christ has abandoned his flock as some shepherds have deliberately led people astray by their distorted lives of sexual deviancy. Neither does it help when some bishops who are expected to protect the vulnerable assign known sexual predators to take care of innocent children. It certainly gives reasons for some to leave the Catholic Church and go elsewhere. There is no easy answer to scandals of incompetent leaders of the Church. In some countries the civil authority takes over and punishes the offenders and costs financial woes to the concerned dioceses. However, what we need to do is recall Jesus' promise that he would be with the Church till the end of time. Scandals will continue to rock and embarrass the Church because human beings run it. Christ himself could not prevent Judas from committing the ultimate scandal by selling his master for thirty pieces of silver. Sinful shepherds and lame bishops do not constitute the Church, you and I make up the body of Christ. We have to look at the countless followers of Jesus who believe what the Gospel points out today that Jesus came that we may have life in his name. St. Peter Canisius certainly believed in the power of the resurrection and he was able to keep the flock faithful to Jesus. Jesus alone can heal and transform the hearts and minds of people. We need to believe that.
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary
... for families who are in need of healing
... for world peace and reconciliation
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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