2nd Sunday of Easter-Cycle B-2009 Acts of the Apostles 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 favor 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.
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.
Gospel Cycle Cycle B
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.
How difficult it is for the community of believers to remain of one heart and mind! The Acts of the Apostles presents us with an ideal and all of these centuries after Christ we still try to live that ideal in our Christian communities. To remain one in heart and mind requires incredible sacrifice and trust and dialogue and grace! But we keep on striving to be faithful. If we don’t, then we are no longer striving to follow our Lord Jesus, but making up our own faith.
The second reading, from the First Letter of Saint John, speak about this same challenge for the believer because honestly only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God could possibly be able to maintain themselves one in heart and mind. Once we accept the divinity of our Lord, we can receive the graces necessary to remain one in heart and mind.
We see this same challenge of faith in today’s Gospel, where Thomas does not want to believe but is pushed into the corner and then does believe. We should pray that God would also push us into the corner so that we can believe!
This Sunday is often called Thomas Sunday. It is also now the Sunday of Divine Mercy. It has been called Low Sunday and White Sunday. The Latin Introit gives it the name Quasimodo Sunday. In all of these names, we see the importance of this Octave Day of Easter Sunday. An Octave means that eight days are celebrated as only one great day—and there are very few octaves left in the Church Calendar.
Let us focus on faith and trust in the Lord today. We are invited to strive to be of one heart and mind with those who believe. For us, this means uniting ourselves with the faith of the Church. Today so many Catholics want to invent their own faith, to pick and choose among the doctrines and teachings of the Church. We need to remind ourselves that if a doctrine is already defined by the Church as something to be believed, then we should try to believe it. Even those doctrines not defined should have respect from us. Moral teachings are very difficult for people to accept today.
Most of our western cultures want total freedom with regard to morality, whether it be in sexual morality or in business morality or in the morality of the death penalty. Perhaps in the past, Catholics simply accepted whatever Church authority said. Those days are gone, probably for ever. Yet, for those who wish to remain faithful to the Church, we must strive to believe what the Church believes and allow our lives to be formed by that. This is a modern day equivalent of putting our finger in the side of Jesus Himself.
Let us ask today for a strong and vibrant gift of faith that will unite us with the Church in her beliefs and thus help us become of one heart and mind with other believers. May our Lord Jesus help us! To Him be glory for ever. Amen.