2nd Sunday of Easter-Cycle A-2017
FIRST READING Acts of the Apostles 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
SECOND READING 1 Peter 1:3-9
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time. In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
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.
My sisters and brothers in the Lord,
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.
Your brother in the Lord,