Second Sunday of Easter – Year A

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Francis E. Chambers, O.S.A. 
Villanova University
Villanova, Pennsylvania

Acts 2:42-47
Ps 118:2-4,13-15, 22-24
1 Pt 1:3-9
John 20:19-31

Have you ever experienced someone who can’t stop talking about some event: a trip, a medical condition, their children/grandchildren? Sure, you have; we all have!

We continue our Easter celebration on this Octave Day of Easter. We celebrate an octave as one continuous celebration of our Feast. Today is also known as “Divine Mercy Sunday.”

Our First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles is not only foundational for us as a Christian community, but we religious also see it as foundational for our life as well. “They devoted themselves…to the breaking of the bread and prayers…all who believed were together and had all things in common…” But this isn’t just a call for “religious” (the noun) life, but a call to all faithful religious (the adjective) life. Our reading calls us back to the ideal to which we are called in Baptism and celebrate, not just in this Easter Season, but every season and every day. Being “raised” is also a matter of consciousness as well as a way of life.

The well-known story of “Doubting Thomas” is our Gospel today. It is interesting that it is the “doubter” that makes the most complete affirmation of Christ’s nature to be found in the gospel. As important as the Resurrection appearances are to the testimony of the primitive Church, it is the Word itself, the Gospel, which is the power of God that will always continue to be the real and only adequate motive of faith. Miracles, historical evidence and even the story of Thomas can assist the seeker of faith, but it is the preaching of the message, the Kerygma, that the grace of God is to be found in which the issue of faith or disbelief is finally engaged. In other words, the adage that “seeing is not necessarily believing” is a reminder to each of us and each generation of the power of The Word.

The second reading, 1 Peter 1:3-9, also reminds us that, as if we didn’t already “rejoice,” Peter’s Letter recommits us to this stance. The “new birth” of the Resurrection is a birth to a living hope. We are called to rejoice even though we may have to suffer through various trials in this life that our belief brings with it: social estrangement, pandemics and perhaps even harassment. Our “new life” in Christ will certainly bring its challenges. But our ultimate hope is in the life to come which is promised in the Resurrection.

Our celebration this year has a particular ring of hope to it. With what surrounds us day in and day out, we need to be reminded of what binds us together as Christians and believers: belief and proclamation of the Resurrection day in and day out.

Our readings today inspire us to continue to speak, if not in word, then certainly by example and lifestyle the hope and joy and the vision to which the Resurrection calls us. While we may not believe that we are able to sustain this day in and day out on our own, we have The Word to assist us and nourish us. This is indeed the day the Lord has made for us. Let us rejoice and be glad and bring that hope and joy to the world in which we live.