Easter is a wonderful celebration of the surprising nature of God. Who would have predicted or expected the resurrection of Jesus?
The liturgy in our Church tracks the happenings of the disciples post-resurrection in readings from the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of John.
Life for the apostles and for many people was exciting and dramatic. They had experienced the turmoil of the death of their leader and the fear that they would be next.
The Gospel of the Second Sunday recounts how the Apostles, after the resurrection, huddled in a room for fear that the Jews would kill them. Then Jesus appeared among them and changed their fear into joy. Even the doubter Thomas was convinced by Jesus who invited him to place his hand in the wound made by a spear. This was later followed by the Pentecost experience which changed them, made them bold.
The Second Sunday of Easter is also known as Divine Mercy Sunday but the Sunday readings are not about mercy. They are about the power of Jesus’ Spirit residing in the apostles as they gathered in Solomon’s Porch in the outer Temple.
It seems three groups were present. Those who held the apostles in high regard but did not join them; others who did join this group of new people and people who brought the sick to be healed, even by Peter’s shadow falling on them.
Nothing has changed today. There are those who admire the works of the Church but do not want to belong to it. And there are those who do receive that mysterious gift of faith, while others are only interested in getting help. They are often not people of faith, but will try anything to get their family members healed when scientific treatment is no longer an option. For them, the source of the blessing is immaterial, it really doesn’t matter where it comes from.
As we read further into the Acts of the Apostles, disunity in the group appears; they are expelled from the synagogues and all sorts of new problems arise. For example, the Gentiles wanting to join the group.
The same human concerns are present today but we can take heart in the figure of Thomas who is an archetypal figure for us. He is the ‘father of all disbelievers’. When Jesus first appears to the Apostles, Thomas is not present and declares that he will not believe that Jesus is alive unless he puts his hand into the wound made by the spear. So it happens, when Jesus re-appears, Thomas’ doubt becomes faith with the resounding words, ”My Lord and my God!”
From such a tenuous beginning it is amazing that people today believe in the same realities of the death and resurrection of Jesus after 2,000 years.
Each generation has believers with a deep faith in the risen Lord, deep enough to die for it as the apostles did.
God bless you.
Fr Gary Walker SSC
|LISTEN TO: From the Director - After Easter
(Duration: 3:33mins. MP3, 1.62MB)