Second Sunday of Easter Acts 2:42-47; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31
“In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ The disciples were filled with joy, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.’ ”
A sense of fear, loss and isolation are the inevitable consequences of the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus epidemic. The doors are indeed closing on much that normal life has taken for granted. Such were the feelings of those first disciples as the violence of Good Friday gave way to the emptiness that followed.
The power of the Risen Lord is revealed to us, as it was to those first disciples, at the very heart of our fears and isolation. They could not reach beyond their emptiness, such was the fear that had set them apart. When, in humility, we surrender our fears to the Lord, we, like those first disciples, begin to experience the healing joy of his presence. For some, like the reluctant Thomas, that surrender takes time. May we, in the fragility of our faith, surrender ourselves and our fears to Lord. With Thomas, may we place ourselves in the hands of the Lord, confessing him as “My Lord and my God”.
The first letter of St Peter, instructing new disciples, promised the same comfort to its own troubled times.
“You did not see him yet you love him; and still without seeing him, you are already filled with a joy so glorious that it cannot be described, because you believe; and you are sure of the end to which your faith looks forward.”
Such was the faith witnessed in the life of the early Church. They shared and lived their lives together in the presence of their Risen Lord. The generosity and selfless giving of their lives brought hope to a world turned in on itself.
“The faithful all lived together and owned everything in common. They sold their goods and shared out the proceeds according to what each one needed.”
In recent days we have witnessed the generosity of many who have reached beyond themselves to bring comfort and assurance to the sick, the lonely and the forgotten. May we come to acknowledge such selfless love as the assurance of the Lord’s enduring and saving presence.