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2nd Sunday of Easter 2007

2nd Sunday of Easter 2007

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Published by: SaintJoseph on Jul 13, 2008
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2nd Sunday of Easter 04-15-07Scripture ReadingsFirst
Acts 5: 12-16
Second
Rev 1: 9-11,12-13,17-19
Gospel
John 20:19-31
Prepared by
:
Father Stephen Dominic Hayes, OP 
 1.
Subject Matter
 
“The Gift of the Spirit”: The Gospel begins with Jesus appearing in the midst of his disciplesin his glorified body. He wishes them peace, and shows them his wounded hands and side.He then breathes upon them the ”Gift of the Holy Spirit” for the forgiveness of sins. He whois risen from the dead now entrusts to his Church the key to unlocking death’s power; powerto forgive sin, which is the root of death and death undying. One single Spirit animates boththe risen Christ and the Easter
ekklesia 
; the Spirit which gives life and glory to Jesus’resurrected body likewise continually calls sinners back to life within the body of holy Churchthrough the apostolic ministry Jesus established.
 
“Thomas Sunday”: the Apostle Thomas, who was not present at the Easter appearance ofour Lord today sees the resurrected Lord in his second Sunday of parents. He who beganEaster in disbelief is done before the Lord the highest confession explicit confession of faithin this Gospel: “My Lord and My God.” He sees the glorified body of a man, but confesses inwhat cannot be seen with physical sight: the limitless God who can be beheld only with abelieving heart. The disbelief of Thomas and Jesus’ relentless kindness towards him hasbecome the fountain of our own belief. Blessed are we “who have not yet seen and have yetbelieved”.
 
“Mercy Sunday”: the devotion first popularized by Sister Faustina and developed by PopeJohn Paul II becomes an occasion for us to meditate upon the mercy of Christ shown toThomas in the Gospel. Jesus refuses to leave Thomas in disbelief and coldness of heart;and invites him to place his hand within the wound of his heart. Upon the Cross, water andblood flowed from the side of Christ, the emblems of Baptism and the holy Eucharist - thebeginning and end of Christian life. Sister Faustina saw these in her vision as white and redrays of grace streaming from Jesus’ heart. The heart of Christ, wounded in life, remainsopen in his resurrected glory so as to be a perpetual fountain of grace and mercy towardsthose for whom he shed his blood upon the Cross. “ Jesus , I trust in you.” Christ is thehope of the human race, showing us in his glorified body what he hopes to accomplish in usby his grace, and our trust and connivance in it.
 
 
Dominica in Albiis” 
: This Sunday has traditionally been important for those newly initiatedlast Sunday into the sacraments of eternal life. In ancient days they wore their baptismalrobes throughout the week, laying them aside only after today's liturgy. The Easter event issomething that begins in history, but has its origin in the eternal God and its purpose inwelding our lives to God's own. The Easter event is never “over,” for it continues to breakinto the lives of the faithful every time they approach the divine and life-giving Eucharist. Thevery same Christ who appeared to Thomas today in the form of glorified humanity continuesto make himself present and tangible under the near appearances of bread and wine eachSunday as Jesus, the risen Savior, calls his community together to renew the Easter eventin his presence, to hear the Word of salvation and to feast upon the new Manna thatnourishes us on the road to the heavenly Jerusalem. Easter is never over when he who isour Lord and our God yet stands in our midst.2.
Exegetical Notes
 
Acts 5: 12-16: The term “ekklesia” makes its first appearance, in connection the notion ofreverential fear after the fashion that required of the assembly in Deuteronomy (Dt. 4:10).The worship of the assembly, summoned by Christ’s risen presents becomes characterizedby the reverential awe proper to him who has become the new presence of God in the midstof his people, a reverence once due in Moses’ time to the manifestation God at the Tent ofMeeting.
 
Rev 1: 9-11,12-13,17-19: The book of Revelation opens in the midst of the visionary'sSunday worship; heaven and earth are united in the worship of the Christian assembly; andChrist shows himself to the prophet in a glorious manifestation and recalls his appearance tothe original apostolic assembly of the first Easter.
 
John 20:19: John demonstrates in the appearance in Easter the reality of the return of theJesus on the disciples had known familiarly by their recognition of him. Although the spiritualqualities of Jesus’ glorified form are noted, the continuity of the relationship of that historicalwith the glorified Jesus is emphasized.
 
John 20:21-22: John's Gospel is notable for its presentation of the passion, death, andresurrection of Jesus as a
continuum.
Luke's Gospel presents the Pentecost as the definitivemoment of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, but John recalls the evening of Easter as theoccasion on which the Lord, now glorified and ascending to his Father (19:17-18) imparts thelife-giving Spirit he possesses to his Church. John presents the inner meaning in connectionof the death and resurrection of Jesus as united to the gift of the Spirit who shows himself inthe Pentecost, while Luke, emphasizing the historical order of events, presents themseparated in time.
 
John 20:23: The Church's power to forgive sins is presented as part of the reality of Easter;“the Church's tradition has rightly seen this as the origin of the sacrament ofPenance”.(Vawter)
 
John 20:24-29: The account of "doubting Thomas" is the climax of John's Gospel. Johnpresents Christ as making his appearances on two consecutive Sunday, thus emphasizingthe community's early practice of making this day the time for assembly and liturgy by theChurch. Jesus appears to Thomas under the same circumstances as the appeared originally
 
to the Easter assembly. Jesus invites the doubter to touch his hands and his feet, and toplace his hand in his open side, in accordance with Thomas’s words to the others.
 
John 20:28: “My Lord and my God!” The Gospel does not record whether not Thomastouched Jesus, as invited; he has in any case penetrated through to Jesus’ true identity, andmakes the highest affirmation in the Gospel on this point, with absolute clarity: “kyrios theos”.This expression is not only the Septuagint translation of the name of the God of Israel(”Yahweh Elohim”), but is also a common divine name among pagan nations (Vawter.),Thomas sees the glorified body of Jesus with his eyes, but in his heart sees his Creator, andthe God who rescued Israel from Egypt.
 
John 20:29: Jesus calls “blessed those who have not seen yet have believed.” John brieflyshifts focus from the narrative of the Easter event to connected it with the life of his owncommunity. Thomas did not believe without the intervention of Christ in a physicalappearance. By grace, those who hear the Gospel have the power to believe in what couldThomas could not. The witness of miracles, historical evidence, reasonable argument, andeven a tangible manifestation such as Thomas was given by themselves do not create faith.Rather, the Word who took flesh, died, and rose on Easter is the same person whocommunicates his grace and Spirit when he is preached. However he manifests himself, it isin the Incarnate Word’s engagement with the individual heart that the issue of faith ordisbelief is resolved.3.
References to the Catechism of the Catholic Church
 
CCC: 448: Very often in the Gospels people address Jesus as "Lord." This title testifies tothe respect and trust of those who approach him for help and healing. At the prompting ofthe Holy Spirit, "Lord" expresses the recognition of the divine ministry of Jesus. In theencounter with the risen Jesus, this title becomes adoration: "My Lord and my God!" It thustakes on a connotation of love and affection that remains proper to the Christian tradition: "Itis the Lord! "
 
CCC 644: Even when faced with the reality of the risen Jesus the disciples are still doubtful,so impossible does the thing seem: they thought they were seeing a ghost.” “In their joy theywere still disbelieving and still wondering.” (Lk 24:38-41) Thomas will also experience the testof doubt in St. Matthew relates that during the risen Lord's last appearance in Galilee “somedoubted.” Therefore the hypothesis that the Resurrection was produced by the apostles’ faith(or credulity) will not hold up. On the contrary, their faith in the Resurrection was born, underthe action of divine grace, from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus.
 
CCC 645: By means of touch and the sharing of a meal, the risen Jesus establishes directcontact with his disciples. He invites them in this way to recognize that he is not a ghost andabove all to verify that the risen body in which he appears to them is the same body that hadbeen tortured and crucified, for it still bears the traces of his passion. Yet at the same timethis authentic, real body possesses the new properties of a glorious body: not limited byspace and time but able to be present how and when he wills; for Christ’s humanity can nolonger be confined to worth and belongs henceforth only to the Father’s divine realm. Forthis reason to the risen Jesus enjoys the sovereign freedom of appearing as he wishes: in

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