Bulletin: April 24, 2022
Second Sunday of Easter
In Jesus' first appearance to his disciples, as described in today's Gospel, Jesus sends the disciples, and all who follow him: "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Jesus speaks to us here: we the Church are a "sent people," sent to participate in God's mission, that is, God's purposes and activity for all of humanity. Like Jesus was sent to Israel, we are sent to witness to our world of the boundless love of God, and to offer an alternative way of living based on that love. The wounds that Jesus displayed to his disciples remind us that this new way of life often involves both dying to the familiar and comfortable, and rising to the new and unknown. When we join in efforts to challenge injustice, heal broken relationships, or care for those on the margins of society, we share in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
THE WEEK BETWEEN
In today's Gospel, we notice there was a week between Jesus' first appearance (without Thomas), and the following appearance (with Thomas). During this week, Thomas chose to stay with the community. But why? Perhaps he trusted his friends in some way. Perhaps he reflected on their life with Jesus and on the possibility their account was true. In the week between, Thomas stayed and lived with the questions, and with his doubts. Importantly, the disciples did not cast him out as an unbeliever. It seems they accepted and loved him, just as he was.
Perhaps many of us live in this "week between." We have questions and doubts. We can choose to leave or to stay. We can either engage or ignore our deepest questions. If we embrace our questions with courage, we can live into them. Perhaps we will encounter, through God's initiative, and with the help of our companions in faith, some of the answers--and new questions along the way.
We are currently in Year C of the three-year Lectionary cycle. For the Second Sunday of Easter, in all three years, the first reading is from the Acts of the Apostles. Year A (from Acts 2) tells of the new Christian community's dedication to prayer. Year B (from Acts 4) tells of their sharing of goods and deep bonds of trust in each other. Today we hear in Acts 5 of the early Church's ministry of healing to the community, performed by Peter and the apostles.
These represent three of the primary dimensions of those first Christian communities: prayer in relationship to God; sharing in relationship to each other; and service in relationship to the world around them. We are reminded that all three are fundamental to our identity as Church. We fail to live fully as Church when we neglect any of these relationships. We are called to encourage their full flowering in our own parish's life.