The Second Sunday of Easter
ACTS 2: 42-47; 1 PET 1:3-9; JN 20:19-31 (YEAR A)
‘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, that is, the salvation of your souls.”
The First Letter of St Peter describes the power of the Risen Lord transforming the hearts of those who had responded to his proclamation of the Resurrection. Although they had never seen Jesus, they had been touched by the same love that had raised Jesus from the dead. Christ was alive in them. Their lives, once so distracted and lacking in direction, had found new hope.
The Acts of the Apostles describes these first Christian congregations as powerhouses of the Resurrection: “The whole community remained faithful to the teaching of the Apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.”
These verses describe what we do week by week as we come together in the celebration of the Eucharist. We hear the same Word of God and share the same Bread that has been blessed and broken. This ritual, so familiar, has the same power to change our own lives, just as it had changed the lives of those first communities.
Through Christ’s living presence, generosity had supplanted self-interest. These early congregations became like Christ himself: he had given himself that they might live. They, in their turn, shared everything with each other, according to need. Their food was shared gladly and generously.
So long as we live in a world of poverty and riches, excess and starvation, we cannot dismiss this initial generosity as the idealism of the newly converted. To live in the Risen Lord is to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and comfort the broken-hearted.
Prudence seems to demand that there should be a limit to our generosity. What we can give in a material sense is indeed limited by what we possess, but there can be no limit to the generosity of heart enabled by the Risen Lord. Let us pray that our own parishes, like those described in the Acts of the Apostles, will be united in heart and soul.
If we are to achieve this, we must become as the Apostles on the evening of that first Easter Day. They were hiding behind closed doors, just as much of ourselves lies hidden. His peace conquered their fear. His Spirit, breathed into their hearts, brought new life. May the Risen Lord be revealed in hidden hearts.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.