2nd Sunday of Easter (B)
CHRIST’S CHURCH EMERGED FROM EASTER AND IS BESTOWED WITH THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
- Acts 4: 32-35: “The community of believers was of one heart and mind.”
- 1Jn 5: 16: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God.”
- Jn 20: 19-31. The 1st Church community emerged from Easter and is bestowed with the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Paschal event, that is, the Death and Resurrection of the Lord, renewed the faith of the Apostolic College and set in motion the work of Christ which is the Church as a community of believers gathered in Him by living in his Word and in his Eucharist.
Through the power of the apostolic preaching of the first witnesses of the Resurrection, the Church began, as a community of faith and love among men. San Fulgencio de Ruspe says:
“God, by keeping in the Church the charity that has been poured out in her by the Holy Spirit, makes this same Church a pleasant sacrifice in her eyes and makes her capable of always receiving the grace of that spiritual charity, so that she can to continually offer himself to Him as a living, holy and acceptable offering (Book 3: 11-12).”
Everyone who is born of God overcomes the world. The life of faith initiated by baptism and enlivened by the Eucharist is the key that gives authenticity to our condition as children of God in the midst of the world. St. Athanasius says so:
“It will always be profitable to make an effort to deepen the content of the ancient tradition, doctrine and faith of the Catholic Church, just as the Lord gave it to us, just as the apostles preached and the Holy Fathers preserved it. Indeed, the Church is founded so that everyone who departs from this faith ceases to be a Christian and no longer deserves the name of such “(Letter I to Serapion 28-30).
3. Jn 20: 19-31. The 1st Church community emerged from Easter and is bestowed with the power of the Holy Spirit.
“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.”
It is the Gospel text for the three cycles and presents the first Church community that emerged from Easter. It is a community of believers gathered to begin their mission as witnesses, by faith, of the event of the Christ’s Resurrection, with the Risen Lord bestowing them the Holy Spirit and the power to forgive and retain sins, and spread God’s peace on earth (Cf. Jn 20: 19-20)
Let us turn to St. Thomas’ incredulity with the words of St. Gregory the Great:
“’Only Thomas, called the Twin, was absent and, when he came back and heard what had happened, he did not want to believe what they were telling him.’ The Lord presents himself again and offers his side to the unbelieving disciple to touch, shows his hands, and the scar of his wounds, and heals the wound of his unbelief. What is it, dear brothers, what you discover in these events? Do you think that all these things happened because the chosen disciple was first absent? That when coming to hear, that upon hearing he doubted, that on having doubted he palpated, that when palpating he believed?
‘All this did not happen by itself, but by divine disposition.’ The goodness of God acted in this case in an admirable way, since that disciple who had hesitated, by feeling the wounds of his Master’s body, cured the wounds of our unbelief. More profitable was for our faith the unbelief of Thomas than the faith of the other disciples, since, being induced to believe by the fact of having felt, our mind, free of all doubt, is confirmed in the faith.
In this way, in fact, that disciple who hesitated and who felt touched became a witness of the reality of the resurrection … Having before his eyes a true man, he proclaimed Him God, something that escaped his eyes … ‘Blessed are those who believe without having seen’: in this sentence the Lord especially refers to us, provided that our faith be accompanied by our works (Homily 26 on the Gospels).”
God of ever-living mercy, who, in the very recurrence .of the paschal feast, kindle the faith of the people you have made your own, increase, we pray, the grace you have bestowed, that all may grasp and rightly understand in whose font they have been washed, by whose Spirit they have been reborn, through whose Blood they have been redeemed. Through our Lord. Collect, Mass proper.
A Blessed Divine Mercy Sunday and week ahead! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo.