for Sunday, April 23, 2017
Thomas the Apostle Sunday! Divine Providence Sunday! Octave of Easter Sunday! And many other names have been used for this Sunday, the Second Sunday of Easter, the First Sunday after Easter, etc. Christ is risen! He is our life.
The first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, is about the early life of these Christians. "They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people." We all know that the early Christians eventually had their challenges as well. But, like and new movement, at first everyone was so taken up with the Resurrection of Jesus and His presence among them, that community life was almost completely positive.
Like any human community, however, eventually our flawed and broken humanity shows up once again and we must begin the struggle to be faithful to that first and glorious revelation: He is risen! Incredible! I can love others and give everything for others! But in time, my brokenness or the brokenness of another person comes back into play and I must struggle.
These early Christians had a wonderful gift of being so close to the Resurrection. But they also began to falter. We who live so many centuries later are given the same gift of faith. Those early Christians, those followers, are the same as we followers today: we must struggle to be faithful and never be dismayed by sin and brokenness. Christ can conquer all. Christ does conquer all. But in the way of Christ: a completely faithful love and forgiveness. Christ is risen! Alleluia!
The second reading is from the First Letter of Peter and tells us the same message today: "rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." That salvation only comes because Jesus loves us and forgives us. We are asked by Jesus to do the same with all others, no matter how awful they may be to us.
And then in today's Gospel, from Saint John, we have the wonderful account of Saint Thomas, who doubts, who expresses his doubts and who, in the end, embraces completely His Lord, who invites him once more to believe. What a wonderful account! It reflects at times our own challenges of faith. We are invited on this great Sunday to give ourselves completely to belief, no matter how often doubts may come to us, no matter how often we fail in our faith, no matter how often we sin and deny the Lord.
Christ is risen! Christ gives us redemption! Christ forgives us and pardons us! Christ loves us all! You and I are asked to live that same faith and to love and forgive all others, no matter how often we have failed. No despair! No think that we are unworthy! We are unworthy, but we are loved and forgiven! Christ is risen! Let us rejoice in HIM.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Acts 2.42-47
Second Reading: 1 Peter 1.3-9
Gospel: John 20.19-31
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: