Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Second Sunday,Easter A,April 7,02.Jn.20:19-31

2nd Sund. Easter,April7,02,A

These are the days in which we hear from the Gospel readings the impact the Resurrection of our Lord produced on the apostles and the disciples.

The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles gives us a vivid account of the activities of the first community of the followers of Jesus. In a few words, the Evangelist describes the way they lived: “they devoted among themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.” It was a life of prayer, of sharing and of participation in the Eucharistic service.” From that small community, we have grown into an unbelievably large community spread through out the world, spanning over centuries. But the vision for the life for a Christian remains the same: sharing, prayers, and the participation in the Eucharist.

The reading from today’s Gospel describes vividly the transformation that has happened in the lives of the Apostles through the revelations Jesus made to them about Himself through his different appearances.

Jesus appeared at different times to strengthen them in their faith, to remove their doubts, to open their minds to a clearer understanding of the scriptures, to the reality of his glorified body. Jesus tried to remove even the last shred of doubts in the minds of the apostles.

The Apostle Thomas not present with the rest when Jesus appeared to them. He was not going to be an easy believer. In spite of the fact he was willing to die with Jesus on his way to Jerusalem and had absolute loyalty to Jesus, he was willing to wait and to see. Jesus tells Thomas. “Come. 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.” What a tense moment it might have been. The Apostles waited in anxiety with regard to the response of Thomas. Would he go and put his finger into the wounds of Jesus and verify the reality of the body of Jesus physically. Would he accept Jesus as real or see Him as a ghost?

The response came immediate and full throated: My Lord and My God. It is as if the whole Universe was responding in unison with Thomas. We know how the life of Thomas was changed. His faith became so powerful that he traveled to different and distant lands and traveled as far as to India to preach the faith. He was martyred in India. The community of St. Thomas Christians of India, the most vibrant Catholic community in India traces its origin to the preaching of St.Thomas.

It is very interesting to note that when Jesus came into the midst of his disciples, he repeated one word several times: Peace. In today’s Gospel, he mentions, three times: Peace be with you. In this Easter season, we become more aware of the need of peace. We have to ask ourselves what prevents us from enjoying the peace that Jesus offers. Peace comes from the presence of God in our hearts, from the presence of the Holy Spirit, from the forgiveness we receive from God and we give to others.

In the aftermath of what happened after Sept. 11, in the shadow of what is going on in the Middle East, in the pain of the traumas that millions of families go through because of marital discord, in the background of shootings and violence that happen daily in different countries, and the regions of the world, we become acutely aware of the need of having peace in our lives. this is the time to ask ourselves: Do I have this peace? What is disturbing my life, my family. Let us ask ourselves three questions based on what Jesus said and did in today’s Gospel. Is the Holy Spirit present in my life? Is my faith alive like that of Thomas? Have I accepted forgiveness of my sins from the Lord?

Peace comes when Jesus is present. When Jesus is present , all the bondage to sins will disappear. That is why Jesus offers peace. Wherever he is present, justice is present. Rights are respected. Bondage to sin, arrogance, selfishness all become loosened.

The Holy Father has said recently: “No Peace without Justice.” We have to respect the rights of others if peace has to come into our lives. Individuals, families and nations have to respect the rights of others and be sensitive to their needs.Then only Peace will reign in our hearts. May the risen Lord bless us to enjoy this peace in our lives.

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