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Easter 2 (A)
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Readings for the Second Sunday of Easter, Cycle A

Second Sunday of Easter, Cycle A
 

1. Acts 2, 42-47

  • I have always been drawn by these few verses, and the way in which a community prays and works together.  I want our assembly to hear this and do something about it.
  • But what will we do?  They had all things in common; that community ended long before even Acts was written.  Why continue to fool ourselves?  A wonderful time, yes, and perhaps idyllic, but what can we learn from that?
  • Shall I treat this passage the way I do the hard sayings of Jesus?  That we shouldn’t take it literally?  That tithing is heroic enough?  Or is it a challenge to renew our calling and imitate the first community of disciples?
  • Probably Luke intended to judge the later churches against the measure of the first church in Jerusalem.  And how do we measure up?  Here are the categories: teaching, sharing possessions, breaking the bread, praying – and new members.  In other words, evangelization is all those things.  I will list them deliberately, to allow my listeners to see how relevant they are to us today.
  • Climax: This is the way that the church grows through the ages.  People joined the movement then, and join our gatherings today because they see men and women acting like Jesus did.  I heard that Gandhi said that he admired the example of Christ but rejected the example of those who called themselves Christians.
  • Message for our assembly: Every word I say about the common life of the Jerusalem church applies to our church today.  If we reject any part of it, perhaps we are rejecting a part of Christ.
  • I will challenge myself: to make the comparison between the first community and our own, to remind my listeners of the prayer weekends and other group events we have spent together, and to recall the enthusiasm we felt then.

 

2. I Peter 1, 3-9

  • I begin the first letter of Peter.  It is a pithy summary of what we believe and how we carry it out in practice.  I think it holds up very well after two thousand years.
  • This is a message to the newly baptized, which includes all of us who renewed our baptismal vows at Easter.  The apostle begins with new birth and leads us on to living hope, inheritance unfading, salvation.  Let the words sound like a series of waves washing over the assembly. 
  • Or maybe, instead of the washing of waves, I will read these words like a sower of seed in planting time, and let my listeners gather in all that they can so that it can grow and prosper in their lives.
  • We lose track in our comfortable times of the price that our predecessors had to pay to persist in their faith.  But if they endured suffering through various trials – if Jesus did – then what does that say about our faith?  When was the last time my faith was really tested?
  • When I read You do not see him now yet believe in him, I look ahead to today’s Gospel and the Lord’s words to Thomas.  I read them knowing this, so that the church will have its own faith reinforced.
  • Central point: The letter begins and looks back to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  From there it leads to the climax of our faith: the revelation of Jesus Christ.  (Jesus is always the Messiah in this epistle.  This phrasing sounds very much like the Gospel of Mark.)
  • I would like our assembly to imagine the young churches of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia who first received this letter, and identify with them as well as with all the young churches in the world today.
  • I will challenge myself: to demonstrate that the church of this letter is the norm for our community, not where we are today.

 

Gospel.  John 20, 19-31

  • The spreading of the Good News began on the first day of the week, just as we are doing today.  Jesus is present to his disciples and they are in a festive mood.
  • Once again the church is one.  Wherever and whenever the church is together Jesus can come quietly and repeat his Shalom to us: Peace be with you. 
  • First there are the disciples who have seen the Lord.  Then there are the disciples today who have not seen and have believed.  Let me bring out this contrast.
  • “Doubting Thomas” reminds us that seeing is not necessary to believe.  There were all those people demanding a sign from Jesus and missing the point.  But let me focus more on Jesus and the lesson the church wants to pass to us through this disciple.
  • Climax: Jesus came.  Jesus himself, destroyer of death, gives us the Spirit of communion and makes communion possible.
  • Message for our assembly: Here is a blessing that must console us all today: that we have not seen and yet believe.  Our faith is not based on visions, apparitions or wonders of nature, but on the death and life of Jesus.
  • I will challenge myself: To evoke the fear that reigned in that upper room until Jesus brought the Good News to his disciples.  And then I want especially to evoke the release and outburst when they knew that he is alive and indeed with them.  These events should accompany our church, too, especially the heart filling with joy.

Word to Eucharist: Perhaps we have not seen the Lord, in the sense of this Gospel passage.  Just the same, we have seen someone that brought us to this procession.  Let it be someone who is processing with us, who has become Christ to us!

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