Acts 4:32-35; 1 John 5:1-6; John 20:19-31
It is not easy to live with uncertainty and ultimately we must place our faith in someone or something to give us reason for living. To have our faith in a cause or a person shattered is a terrible experience. This was the scenario facing St. Thomas.
Perhaps Thomas’ doubt was the fruit of bitter disappointments of the past. He may have had people in his life who let him down and who betrayed his trust. He was not born with this sense of hesitation or suspicion – we can speculate that those things are acquired from bitter learned experiences. He had learned caution and wariness about who he could trust. The word of others was not enough for him- he wanted proof, not testimony. Having staked everything on Jesus, the Lord, he had much to lose if he was wrong to trust Him.
Acts 4:13-21; Mark 16:9-15.
In today's gospel reading the Eleven, the chosen inner circle, refuse to believe both Mary Magdalene and the two walking out in the country, and Jesus is not at all happy about their unbelief: theirs is not a simple and passive lack of faith but an outright denial and refusal of the witnesses he sends them. What they are doing is keeping Jesus in the tomb.
Why didn’t the apostles immediately recognize the Lord when he greeted them at the Sea of Tiberias? John gives us a clue. He states that Peter decided to return to his home district of Galilee, very likely so he could resume his fishing career. Peter was discouraged and didn’t know what to do after the tragedy of Jesus’ death! He went back to his previous career out of despair and uncertainty. The other apostles followed him back to Galilee. When was the last time Peter was commanded to let down his net after a futile night of fishing? It was at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee when the Lord dramatically approached Peter in his fishing boat after a futile night of fishing and commanded him to lower his nets (see Luke 5:4-11). After the miraculous catch, Jesus told Peter that he would be ‘catching people” for the kingdom of God. Now Jesus repeats the same miracle. John, the beloved disciple, is the first to recognize the Lord. Peter impulsively leaps from the boat and runs to the Lord. Do you run to the Lord when you meet setbacks, disappointments, or trials? The Lord is ever ready to renew us in faith and to give us fresh hope in his promises.
(...) Luke does not say why the two disciples were going to Emmaus. They may have been going home, going there on business, or just going there to get away from the terrible things they had witnessed in Jerusalem. Again, it doesn’t really matter why they were going to Emmaus. What matters is what it represents. Federick Buechner interprets Emmaus as:
the place we go to in order to escape—a bar, a movie, wherever it is we throw up our hands and say, “Let the whole damned thing go hang. It makes no difference anyway.”…Emmaus may be buying a new suit or a new car or smoking more cigarettes than you really want, or reading a second-rate novel or even writing one. Emmaus may be going to church on Sunday. Emmaus is whatever we do or wherever we go to make ourselves forget that the world holds nothing sacred: that even the wisest and bravest and loveliest decay and die; that even the noblest ideas that humanity has had—ideas about love and freedom and justice—have always in time been twisted out of shape by humanity for selfish ends.
"Peace be with you"
Let us give our attention to the unexpected greeting, repeated three times by the risen Jesus when he appeared to his disciples, gathered together and locked in the upper room “for fear of the Jews” (Jn 20,19). At that time this greeting must have been customary but, under the circumstances in which it was spoken, it takes on an extraordinary fullness. As you remember, this greeting is: “Peace be with you!” It was a greeting that had resounded in the angelic song at Christmas: “Peace on earth!” (Lk 2,14). This biblical greeting, which had already been effectively proclaimed as a promise of the messianic kingdom (Jn 14,27), is now passed on as a reality that takes flesh in this first core group of the emerging Church. It is the peace of a Christ triumphant over death, with its causes near or far, with its awesome effects.
Ps 33:4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22
The Easter season has arrived once again. It is a very uplifting season. But I am not so ready to forget about Lent. It leaves an imprint on us, or at least it should. It should all be connected. There are three main themes in the lessons today that I think sum up Lent, Easter, and the days that follow in a coherent faith response. They are “repent, rejoice, and report.”
The great feast of Our Lord’s resurrection has come and gone, and we are now able to bask in the happy afterglow that is called “the Easter Octave” and then “the Easter season.” Today I would like to ask you to think and pray with me about the meeting between Our Lord Jesus and his Blessed Mother when he rose from the dead. The four gospel accounts of the resurrection, each giving its own details but all affirming the return of Jesus to life after his death on the cross, speak of the various persons who saw Our Lord on that first day of the Jewish week, which we call Sunday. Our risen Lord appeared to several women who came to complete what they considered the proper preparation of the body of their Lord for death; then he appeared to Saints Peter and John, two of the disciples that afternoon on the road to Emmaus, and then that night, to the apostles assembled in the upper room in Jerusalem.
In that industrious, productive, patient and simple communion forged in the love of Jesus Christ, we pray for each other for the grace to faithfully and constantly live ever more profoundly the words of our holy founder Saint Vincent Pallotti: “Let our life always be at the foot of the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and in Jesus Christ we will always find true joy. May the Grace, the Charity, the Peace, and the Mercy of Our Lord Jesus Christ be always in us and in all”. (Letter of 04.04.1849, to the Sisters of San Silvestro in Capite)
In the Risen One,
Resurrectio Domini, spes nostra!
Today, together with the whole Church, we sing the joyful Alleluia! This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice in it and give joy! (Ps 118). I greet you with the Easter acclamation, Christ is Risen! He is truly risen! This joyful paschal message gives us deep amazement and gratitude - the Lord has truly risen! He overcame death and brought life!
Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
“Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.
Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!" (Sequence)
Easter is a celebration of "new life”! All creation joins in the celebration. Each Spring we rejoice in the new life of nature bursting forth after the slumber of winter. And we Christians echo nature in celebrating the "new life" of God’s presence bursting forth among us through the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus is raised from the dead! But not only is Jesus raised from the dead, we are too! Paul could not be more direct in his Letter to the Colossians, ”If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. . . .For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”