Reflection: Second Sunday of Easter

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – Acts.4:32-35; Ps.117; 2nd Reading – 1Jn.5:1-6; Gospel – Jn.20:19-31]

“… AND YET BELIEVE.”

Today, it seems that the evangelist is playing on “contraries”. What do we mean here by “contraries”?  We have: the evening (i.e. the end) of the first day; the doors were closed but Jesus enters; the disciples were frightened of the Jews but were filled with joy on seeing Jesus; Thomas (the twin) was out all by himself and the disciples were all together; the disciples saw (and believed) but Thomas did not see (and refused to believe); Thomas saw and believed but those who do not see, yet believe, are called Happy/Blessed.

Added to these “contraries”, we have clear positive effects: Jesus’ absence is a source of fear, while his presence is a fulfilment of joy; it means peace: of heart and of mind (three times we are told that Jesus said ‘Peace be with you’); the disciples were segregated and frightened but Jesus stood among them and reassured them by showing them the signs of his passion (the same signs which frightened Jesus before his passion); they had to continue his mission and they were now sent in the same way as Jesus was sent. Their lives, like Jesus’ life, were to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That is why Jesus repeated the same action that God had done at the beginning of time when he “gave life” to all creatures through his breath.

As well as the positive effects mentioned above, we also have negative ones: Thomas, by being one of the twelve did not automatically mean he was a believer; in fact he did not believe what the others told him.  He wanted to see the signs more than to see Jesus himself. Quite often those who do not recognise the Lord’s presence through his signs do not see Jesus; they just refuse to believe and they doubt! Thomas relied on his senses instead of his faith! Thomas only believed when he met Jesus even though

    (1) Jesus had told them on many occasions that he would rise from the dead and

    (2) the others told Thomas that they met Jesus.

Only by meeting Jesus himself that Thomas declared his faith in him! Thomas believed because he saw, but those who believe without any need of seeing are called Happy/Blessed.

Often we find ourselves doing exactly the same things as Thomas in today’s Gospel. We say we believe but at the moment of truth we become afraid. There are times when we meet the Lord in some way or another and we are happy but then we become discouraged because something we deem unfortunate happens to us and instead of believing we start to look for signs of the Lord and in doing so we forget the presence of the Lord in our lives. Sometimes, we see the signs (because he enlightens us to see them) and we are happy and we declare our faith … but before too long, we become afraid again…

Lord, give us the gift of faith to believe in you without the need of any sign. Help us to have the peace needed to be able to see you near us.  Thank You Lord!”

 

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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