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Second Sunday Easter.C.April22,01.Jn.20:19-31

2nd Sunday of Easter,Apr.22,C,01

Jn.20:19-31

On this Second Sunday of Easter, we are gathered here once again to experience the joy of the resurrection and to relive in our lives the wonderful experiences the apostles and the disciples went through in those post-resurrection weeks.

We find the apostles and disciples in the weeks after the crucifixion and death of Jesus, a frightened group, unable to pursue their jobs, or to mingle with their own country men. All the dreams of sharing the honor and glory with Jesus in the new kingdom have vanished; the crowds have disappeared; no more cures of sicknesses, or the dead being brought back to life. The lines of people asking for a meeting with Jesus have gone. It is into this dispirited group of people that Jesus makes his entrance in his new risen life. Jesus wants to inspire them, to strengthen them and to drive away fear from their hearts.

Jesus stands before them all of sudden in that room where they gathered in seclusion, having bolted the door from the inside. Jesus offers them three times “ Peace be with you.” We know how much they wanted peace in their hearts. They wanted peace in their hearts to resume their mission, to continue in their jobs and to feel secure in their hearts that God is with them.

Peace is a dream that we too carry in our hearts. We would think that if we got a new job, if things were different, if we had gone to a different city or joined a different University or met new friends, life would be different for us and that there would be peace in our hearts. Or we may think, if we travel and see new places, or get a longer vacation or have more time to commune with Nature, we would have peace in our hearts. The more we get our soul attached to material comforts and conveniences, the more distressed we will become.

Peace can come only from one person __Jesus Christ. He offers peace unconditionally to all who put their trust in him. As Bishop Sheen points out in his book “ Peace of Soul”, “ Peace of soul cannot come from the person , any more than the person can lift himself by his own ears. Help must come from without; and it must not be merely human help, but Divine help.”

It is to Jesus that we have to open the doors of our heart to receive peace in our lives. The value-systems of the world will only plunge us deeply into darkness; it is to the values of the Gospel that we have to return to enjoy peace. The Gospel values of love, forgiveness, meekness, humility, suffering and surrender to the will of God will open new doors in our lives and help us to gain peace in our hearts. As a spiritual writer has put it(Sheen ): “The added tragedy of sin is that after we do wrong, we may not let God help us do what is right and good….we keep him at arm’s length because we refuse to be loved. We are drowning and will not clutch at his helping hand…the truth of the matter is, not that God is hard to find, but rather we are afraid of being found.”

To enjoy real peace , Jesus offers the apostles the gift of the Holy Spirit and the power to forgive sins. They are given a powerful instrument of liberation : “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them.”

The burden of guilt is taken away from the hearts of people. We are the beneficiaries of that gift of forgiveness that is now being given to us through the Church. Hence let nothing dissuade us from coming closer to Jesus and to feel the warmth of his love in our hearts. In our sicknesses, disappointments, pains and tragedies, he will be with us.

Once we experience the continuing forgiveness of Jesus in our lives, and the security of his comforting presence in our hearts, nothing can take away the sense of peace that comes to our hearts through our faith. Then, at every moment in our daily lives, whether it be of joy or pain, we an say with absolute surety and boldness as Thomas has proclaimed: My Lord and My God.”


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