Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday) - B

April 12, 2015

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Opening Prayer  

First Reading: Acts 4:32-35

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

Second Reading: 1 John 5:1-6

Gospel Reading: John 20:19-31

  • Jesus appears to his fearful disciples as they cowered behind locked doors. He bears in his glorified body the scars of his Passion, showing he has the same body he was buried with and is not, as the disciples fear, a ghost (Luke 24:36-40).
  • Jesus reassures them by saying “Peace” (“Shalom’). Jesus breathes on them, imparting the Holy Spirit upon them. This anticipates the gift of the Spirit to be given to the Church 50 days later on Pentecost. It also institutes the sacrament of Penance, by which the apostles are empowered to forgive sins in Jesus’ name.
  • The apostle Thomas is not present at this first appearance and expresses his disbelief. Jesus returns, however, and Thomas has a dramatic change of heart.

 

QUESTIONS:

  • The themes of the Second Sunday of Easter are those of faith and divine mercy. In the 1st Reading, how do the Apostles and the early Church display their faith in God?
  • In the 2nd Reading the ideas of obedience and faith are repeated often. How, in a sense, can these be seen as different aspects of the same thing?
  • Of who or what are the disciples afraid? Of all the things Jesus must have said, why does St. John record “Peace be with you” three times (verses 19, 21, 26)? How does this relate to their fears? To their being sent (verse 21)?
  • How does Thomas’ personality compare with Mary Magdalene’s (verse 13)? To the other disciples (verses 9, 19)? How does Jesus deal with Thomas’ doubt (verse 29)?
  • Under what circumstances are you liable to exclaim, “My Lord and my God!” along with Thomas? How might that prayer become more that a mere formula?
  • Where could you use Jesus’ “peace” right now: in some relationship? In some inner fear? In your work? What doubts or questions about God are you struggling with? What have you found helpful in dealing with doubts?

Closing Prayer

Catechism of the Catholic Church:  §§ 643—645, 1087, 1441, 730, 976, 1287, 1461

 

The disbelief of Thomas has done more for our faith than the faith of the other disciples. As he touches Christ and is won over to belief, every doubt is cast aside and our faith is strengthened.  ~St. Gregory the Great

 

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- St. Jerome