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Thursday, 08 April 2021 22:42

Celebrating At Home - Second Sunday of Easter

Two stories of transformation

The great Easter feast of last Sunday began the Church’s fifty-day celebration of the Resurrection which concludes with the feast of Pentecost in six weeks.

The Gospel of each Sunday is a meditation on Jesus as: the resurrected Christ, made known in the scriptures and the breaking of the bread, the bearer of life in all its fullness, our way, truth and life, pledge of God’s love.

In today’s Gospel reading there are two stories of transformation through encounter with the risen Jesus.

Firstly, Jesus appears to a group of frightened and bewildered disciples hiding in a room. His first words are, ‘Peace be with you’. Fear and bewilderment turn into joy as the disciples recognise the presence of the Risen Jesus with them. But that’s not all. He then sends them out to be missionaries of peace and forgiveness. In receiving the Holy Spirit they are transformed from a group of frightened people, hiding in a room to bold proclaimers of God’s love and mercy.

We already know that fear breeds isolation and loneliness. We are living with that each day.

While taking necessary steps to keep ourselves and each other safe, we are trying not to let our hearts go into lockdown, too. There is something inherently good in human nature. People are finding new ways to care for each other. Like top- class restaurants turning out hundreds of meals for poor, elderly or isolated people. There are many other examples of people transforming fear and bewilderment into moments of hope and joy. Do we not also recognise the presence of the risen Jesus in these saving actions?

The second story in today’s Gospel is the one we all know as doubting Thomas, though, really, it should be known as believing Thomas - doubt is only the beginning of the story.

Jesus doesn’t scold or rebuke Thomas. If Thomas is looking for proof, he has only to touch Jesus to see he is real. But Thomas doesn’t do that. It is his personal encounter with Jesus which transforms him from doubter to believer.

It is yet another Gospel reminder that faith is not about believing with our minds or in looking for proof. It is found only in our living relationship with Jesus.

Perhaps these extraordinary days give us a bit more time just to sit and chat with Jesus, to recognise him already present in our hearts, to allow our fears and doubts to be overcome by love, to find new, creative ways of transforming the darkness of these days into light, peace and joy for others.

May the new life we celebrate over the next fifty days bring us the creativity of Spirit we need to be the living heart of God in our world today.

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Celebrating at Home is a Liturgy of the Word centred around the Gospel reading for each Sunday. It includes a reflection on the Gospel and prayers.

It can be used personally or with your family. Parts for all to pray are given in bold print and all the other parts can be shared among those present.

We hope that Celebrating at Home will be a source of nourishment and strength for all who use it.

In the room you decide to use for this prayer you could have a lighted candle, a crucifix and the Bible. These symbols help keep us mindful of the sacredness of our time of prayer and can help us feel connected with our local worshipping communities.

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