Reflection on the Daily Readings for 4/19/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Second Sunday of Easter, B Cycle. Acts 4:32-35. Psalm
118:2-4.13-15.22-24. I John 5:1-6. John 20:19-31. Lectionary # 45:
Again we celebrate through the liturgy of the word and in the
Eucharist two appearances of the Risen Lord given by the Fourth Evangelist.
This day also completes the octave of Easter Sunday itself but we continue
the "Great Sunday" that Easter is throughout the fifty days of unbounded
joy. We are all amazed at the different appearances of the Lord in
different locations and with different witnesses.
There are actually two resurrection appearances in what is proclaimed
in the Gospel. The first is seen by the apostles without Thomas being
present; the second centers on Jesus appearing a week later while Thomas is
present. It is another maginificent narrative given in John's Gospel. We
realize that the first scene takes place on the first day of the week. In
the calendar that Jesus shared with his own people this means Sunday.
Monday is considered as the second day of the week. The Sabbath is the
climax and focal point for the Jewish people; we Christians celebrate and
focus on the day of the Resurrection, a Sunday.
It is the second appearance with Thomas being present that captures
our attention. Thomas needs to have physical proof of the risen Lord if he
is to believe. Now Jesus is in front of him and tells him, "Take your
finger and examine my hands. Put your hand into my side. Do not persist in
your unbelief, but believe!" Thomas is overwhelmed and begins to believe
with all his heart and his full consent. He gives us one of the greatest
expressions of faith in the divinity of Jesus when he cries out, "My Lord,
and my God!" Jesus then seems to include every believer who will ever
profess faith in him: "Thomas, you became a believer because you saw me.
Blest are they who have not seen and have believed." We are thankful to
Thomas for this extraordinary appearance of Jesus and for the Beloved
Disciple who witnessed it. By many of us this becomes the prayer at the
Eucharist when the bread and wine are consecrated. We say silently in our
hearts, "My Lord and My God!" We thus enter into the real experience of
Jesus present among us as the Christ who is alive and risen from the dead.
We do well to heed what is being said in the final verse of chapter
20 which shows us the purpose of this Gospel of John: "Jesus performed
many other signs as well--signs not recorded here--in the presence of his
disciples. But these have been recorded to help you believe that Jesus is
the Messiah, the Son of God, so that through this faith you may have life
in his name." (John 20:30). Amen. Alleluia.
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