Bulletin: April 28, 2019
Second Sunday of Easter (Or Sunday of Divine Mercy)
In Revelation, John the Evangelist tells us what we can expect as followers of the risen Jesus: distress, endurance, and a kingdom. Although we are only eight days into our fifty-day Easter feasting, we cannot ignore the distress weighing down our daily lives. Jesus’ resurrection does not erase individual suffering, but his glorious triumph over death cultivates endurance in our hearts. We remember that Jesus did not spare himself, and we ask for the strength to endure as he did. Imitating Christ helps us grow as members of God’s royal family. As beloved citizens of the Kingdom of God, we recognize our kinship with all people. Peter demonstrates his care for others as he heals multitudes of broken, suffering people. In the Gospel, Thomas accepts his own spiritual healing when Jesus helps him to believe. In times of difficulty, survival, and glory, we borrow Thomas’ declaration of faith: “My Lord and my God!”
PEACE BE WITH YOU
Our Gospel reading today depicts the disciples in a terrifying moment. They have locked their doors, huddling together in safety at a time when the Lord has transformed the entire course of human events. Jesus has risen from the dead. He has destroyed death and unlocked eternal life. But who can fully grasp all of this? Not even Thomas, one of the twelve devoted companions of Jesus, understands what has happened. Those of us who have never faced maltreatment for our faith can only imagine the disciples’ panic. Unimpeded by their bolted doors, Jesus visits his frightened friends. His appearance must have been shocking, since he says to them “Peace be with you” not once, but twice. If the disciples hoped Jesus would come back to them, they might have wished he would appear as a victorious leader or glorious king. Instead, he comes as they have known him and most need him: as a companion, and he brings with him the eternal peace of God. They might have wanted a bodyguard; instead he gives them peace.
AT LEAST A SHADOW
God knows what we need far better than we ourselves know. Jesus offers peace to the disciples—twice. He knows they must soon leave the security of locked doors. Shortly he will fill them with the gift of the Holy Spirit and rely on them to lead the community—and the world—into a new baptism, a new communion. At that moment in the locked room, the disciples see only threats to their lives. Jesus sees their fearful hearts and gives them what they need: peace. We see how Peter is transformed. Instead of hiding in shadows, he becomes a source of healing and light; his very shadow draws people into the mystery of God’s power. Jesus’ gift of peace makes a real difference in our lives. We can ask every day for more peace, in our hearts and in our world.
Today’s Readings: Acts 5:12–16; Ps 118:2–4, 13–15, 22–24; Rev 1:9–11a, 12–13, 17–19; Jn 20:19–31