A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”
cf. Lk 6:45
second sunday of easter
The image we use for today’s Gospel reflection is one of my favorite paintings from one of my favorite artists, Caravaggio. The “Incredulity of Saint Thomas,” is captured beautifully by the artist and is also an object of the passage from the twentieth chapter of John’s Gospel.
The Gospel writer gives us so much to reflect on. Aside from Thomas’ unbelief, we’re invited to reflect on Jesus breaking through a room where the disciples are huddled, afraid, “for fear of the Jews.” Jesus stands in their midst. He greets them in a sign of peace, not retribution. He breathes on the Apostles, evocative of the power of God breathing into the formless void, as we read in the Book of Genesis, bringing void to life. The Apostles receive the Holy Spirit and are commissioned to forgive sins. John packs so much into just a few passages!
Above all, let us place ourselves with the disciples in the Upper Room. Let us reflect with the eyes and ears of faith. Let us be like Saint Thomas and not be unbelieving, but believe! And, for my fellow Catholics, consider Jesus’ (loving) admonishment to Saint Thomas, and reflect on the great Mystery of Faith – Jesus in the Eucharist. Blessed, truly, are those who have not seen and have believed (cf. Jn 20:29).
Be not afraid! Jesus is waiting for you when you find nothing else in this world satisfies you.
For a reflection from John’s Gospel account please enjoy below.
Peace be with you!
Bring your hand and feel the place of the nails, and do not be unbelieving but believing.”
cf. Gospel of John 20:27
LISTEN: Eight days later Jesus came and stood in their midst.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 20:19-31
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
The Gospel of the Lord
by Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, our magnificent Gospel today declares that there is no greater manifestation of the divine mercy than the forgiveness of sins. We are in the upper room with the disciples, those who had denied, betrayed, and abandoned their master. Jesus came and stood in their midst. When they saw him, their fear must have intensified; undoubtedly, he was back for revenge.
Instead, he spoke the simple word “Shalom,” peace. He showed them his hands and his side, lest they forget what the world (and they) did to him, but he does not follow up with blame or retribution—only a word of mercy.
And then the extraordinary commission: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Jesus’ mercy is communicated to his disciples, who in turn are sent to communicate it to the world.
This is the foundation for the sacrament of Penance, which has existed in the Church from that moment to the present day as the privileged vehicle of the divine mercy.
Credit: Daily Lenten Gospel Reflections, Bishop Robert Barron, April 11, 2021; Word on Fire, https://www.wordonfire.org. Information herein posted under the "rules of fair use" to foster education and discussion in accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976.
SUNDAY SERMON: A VIDEO GOSPEL REFLECTION
Friends, this Sunday’s Gospel reveals, in miniature, the whole of the Christian spiritual life. Up until this point in the narrative, Jesus’ ministry involved a small, select group who closely followed him. Now, however, he breaks through our locked doors and sends us forth to breathe his spirit into the entire world. We live in light of his Resurrection day—a day of new creation, a restoration of the whole of the cosmos under God’s grace.
Bishop Robert Barron
The Holy Scriptures were not given to us that we should enclose them in books, but that we should engrave them upon our hearts.”
Saint John Chrysostom
Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
Saint Jerome (ca. 347 – 420 A.D.), Father and Doctor of the Church
Jesus, Word Incarnate, help me to know you.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.