Second Sunday of Easter
With this liturgy, Easter Week ends, but the resurrection continues.
We are praying these days for the 'peace' which Jesus rose to share.
This 'peace' is given so that we too might live lives of sharing ourselves
as graces. Individuals war between themselves and among themselves,
usually, because they are not at peace with themselves. Perhaps nations
do the same thing.
We pray that we receive such resurrection graces that we are
peacefully in union with Jesus, and through him with our sisters and brothers.
The word 'community' literally means 'with-gifts' and the unity for
which we pray, comes from our first being gifted by God's creation of us
and redemptive finding of us, even when we are hiding. We pray then
to be found, given a new spirit, and bidden to extend his gift of grace tot
others. We pray to see ourselves in his light and face the darkness
of the unknown into which he sends the church.
Early in my Jesuit formation we were all given a book of daily
meditations; one for each day of the year. It was very well arranged
so that the person praying was told what to think, feel and then do. Every
morning we made the same meditation as everyone else and presumably made
the same resolutions.
The resolve for our praying on the text which is our Gospel for
this liturgy was not to imitate Thomas, who was not around when Jesus appeared
to the disciples. So the real resolution was that we would never miss
a community exercise such as recreation, communal prayer, and especially
meals. I report that I have been quite faithful to this last one in
The spirit of our readings today actually begins in the Book
of Genesis. Adam and Eve are pictured as sharing a communal relationship
with God who has shared all creation with them as a grand gift. When
they forget that all is a gift and that they are to reverence the love and
will of the Giver, they are banished, isolated, and self-absorbed. God
comes looking for them and they are hiding and afraid. They are in
Much time is spent by Luke in narrating the events of Jesus'
birth and early life. In the Book of Acts, from which our First Reading
comes, Luke spends much time on the birth and early life of the Christian
Community. The Apostles and fellow believers are gathered together
per usual. Non believers are not joining them yet, but join in high
praise of their miraculous deeds. They are extending the teachings
and healings of Jesus together.
Those who did believe brought the sick and disturbed out into
the streets so that when Peter would pass that way they would be healed by
even his shadow falling on them. Faith as well as human needs can bring
people to the experience of God's care. The early Church advanced in
wisdom and grace before God and those who were touched.
John's Gospel is a familiar one, chiefly because of Thomas the
Doubter who has to see and touch in order to believe. This is a true
theme of how Jon pictures the life of Jesus. Jesus has come to touch
and be touched, to be seen through his signs and works. Thomas was
not the only doubter and Jesus came to them in their hiding places. Thomas
just did not believe in what he had heard from them about what they had seen.
There is more than 'doubting Thomas' to consider today. Jesus
comes walking into their 'Adam-and-Eve liked' hiding. They are alienated
from each other, ashamed, and they seem not to know what they are to do next.
Jesus comes with peace, unity, and mission. He offers a truce,
an end to hostilities among themselves, within themselves individually, and
between them and the world. They are offered 'peace, forgiveness, in
which they are to forgive themselves as they have been forgiven by God. Instead
of being banished, as were Adam and Eve, they are 'sent' as Jesus was sent
to them. They now know what they are to do next, get out of their dumptster,
get off their pity-pots and get on with his mission of ending inner-personal
and inter-personal wars.
With Easter comes the renewal of our baptisms and the renewal
of our knowing who we are and what we are to do next. We have entered
joyfully the compassionate community, who is so, because we have entered
his compassionate finding of us individually. Besides entering the
community centered around Jesus, we even more are entered into his having
been sent and the sent, who comprise the church. Our resolve then is
not to miss any exercise of that 'sentness' in Christ. As he went about
doing good works, signs and the making of peace, so are we. The joy
of Easter is the joy of Thomas and the other doubters who no longer had to
hide, were allowed to hide, but given a 'new creation' a new identity which
fit much better than their old ones.
To whom are we sent today, tomorrow and so on? We are meant
and sent to continue the recovery of the realization that all things are
gifts and not forget to whom they all belong. What Jesus rose to do,
he does to each of us; he gives us back ourselves with his risen fingerprints
all over us. What we do is live gratefully, generously and never miss
a meal where we can share more than food.
"Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his
love is everlasting." Psalm 118
Ministry Office Guestbook