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The Second Sunday of Easter

April 7th, 2013

 



Reading 1
Acts 5:12-16
Many signs and wonders were done among the people
at the hands of the apostles.
They were all together in Solomon’s portico.
None of the others dared to join them, but the people esteemed them.
Yet more than ever, believers in the Lord,
great numbers of men and women, were added to them.
Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets
and laid them on cots and mats
so that when Peter came by,
at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them.
A large number of people from the towns
in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered,
bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits,
and they were all cured.



Ps 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
Responsorial Psalm

R. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
I was hard pressed and was falling,
but the LORD helped me.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just:
R. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.



Rev 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19
Reading 2



I, John, your brother, who share with you
the distress, the kingdom, and the endurance we have in Jesus,
found myself on the island called Patmos
because I proclaimed God’s word and gave testimony to Jesus.
I was caught up in spirit on the Lord’s day
and heard behind me a voice as loud as a trumpet, which said,
“Write on a scroll what you see.”
Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me,
and when I turned, I saw seven gold lampstands
and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man,
wearing an ankle-length robe, with a gold sash around his chest.

When I caught sight of him, I fell down at his feet as though dead.
He touched me with his right hand and said, “Do not be afraid.
I am the first and the last, the one who lives.
Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever.
I hold the keys to death and the netherworld.
Write down, therefore, what you have seen,
and what is happening, and what will happen afterwards.”



Jn 20:19-31
Gospel



On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nail marks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “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.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

 




Homily

This morning I awoke to a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the trees are beginning to bud, the flowers are blooming, and the birds were singing their familiar song of praise, as everything was alright in their world. Then I thought of our world, and our country; the kind of world that we live in today, not just here in Old Mines, Missouri, but also beyond this little community, town, beyond the boundaries of this county. It seems to me that there is something wrong in a world where homeless people have to settle for the bare earth, or a bench in a part, or a one night cot in a shelter; there is something wrong in a world where broken people and families lead children into poverty and latch-key loneliness; there’s something wrong in a world where the rich, the middle class (if they even exist anymore), and the poor – worship under one roof, and then go their separate ways to face their separate problems. Then I wondered if we all felt this “something wrong” in our bones and if so what could we do about it?



This week’s readings may not hand up a master plane to change the world. But they do offer a vision of what once was and could be again – if folks are willing to take certain risks.



In today’s gospel, Jesus not only tells his apostles and disciples: “All right, I am alive. Do not have any doubt about that, not even you Thomas dear. But I will become absent. I will be absent all the rest of your time (not literally). It will be up to you,” he also told them, and he tells us what we should do, how we should react to his absence. We should take up our responsibility. WE should enter the process he had come to introduce in this world. WE should no longer be mere victims. WE should no longer be passive observers. WE should no longer be only objects. WE should be actors and activators entering human history.

 

He blew over them. He said: “Forgive, change the shadows of the past!” And before he left them finally, disappearing as dramatically as possible, endlessly high up, straight into the sky, he told them and us from above: “Go out into the whole world to the park benches, to the barren soil where those poor people sleep, to those broken families; to those who are alienated and shunned, and bring them all together; One Father, one Mother, one Brother, one Sister, one Spirit, one Family, the life of all!:



My friends, I am afraid that many of us do not want to hear this news about him and ourselves; that many of us act as if Jesus did not leave. And yet it seems as if we are saying: “He is the answer! He is my personal Savior! Everything will be alright! God is in control. Maybe not now, maybe not here, but definitely then, and certainly there!”



Saying this, should we not really engage ourselves in this world, in this country, and it’s problems, as he asked and ordered us to do? Should we not forget the message he gave us after his resurrection; “It is all up to you!” Yes, God is in control, but he is not in control of our free wills. It is free will that is the problem in this world and this country. The moral decay is the result of free will, NOT to follow his message of love and forgiveness; free will to be corrupt, deceiving, and possessive. We have not seen the risen Lord but don’t we believe in his word? Have we not met him in our community of faith, in our friendships, in our families, in the Eucharistic meal, in the silence of prayer? Any barriers we erect out of fear or a desire to insulate ourselves against hurt or change (God’s change, not kings, or rulers, or presidents, or political parties) are not obstacles to the risen Lord.



Our breaking bread and sharing the cup of the covenant, we renew our commitment to be nourished and supportive for one another. Love is the basis of our communion of mind and heart; a mind and heart that perhaps should ring out to the world, to this country, to the homeless people, to the broken families, to the victims of social injustice or any injustice, to the lonely, the sick, the elderly, and the emotionally disturbed.



Let us not forget, that like Thomas and the other disciples, we too have the certain hope that Christ will be with us always. That is why he blew over them, giving them his Spirit before he left, leaving us in his absence, as long as we will be here in this world. For each time that we pray, that we pray together, we proclaim our faith in the resurrection and coming of the Lord. We cannot all be a part of a movement to change the wrong in this world, this county, in a physical way, but my friends, nothing is greater than the power of prayer. And yes, Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will most certainlycome again!



It is my hope that this message was meaningful to you. May God bless each of you this coming week, and grant you good health. May his love and peace be with you. Yours in Christ –



Just Me –
Deacon Steve
© April 5th, 2013 (revised)

 

 

 

 

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