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Today we celebrate the Second Sunday of Easter, which is also known as Divine Mercy Sunday. Each year on the Second Sunday of Easter we read the story of Thomas ----- and his doubt. Now to be honest, I have always felt a great deal of sympathy for Thomas and have become somewhat of an apologist for him. Very specifically, I think Thomas got a bad deal in being stuck with the epithet “doubting” Thomas. I say this for three reasons. First, I think Thomas’ doubt really centered on the credibility of the other disciples. Stop and think about it. The other disciples couldn’t have been very effective witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection if they couldn’t convince Thomas --- whom they had been with for three years --- that Jesus had truly been raised from the dead. Second, I wonder if the other disciples might not have asked for the same proof Thomas did if Jesus hadn’t shown them “his hands and his side” when he first appeared to them. Finally, notice that it was Thomas who was the first disciple to put it all together and to give words to Easter faith: “My Lord and my God!” Given these things, while Thomas may not have been a model of faith, I think it is a bit harsh that for centuries he has had to bear the nickname: “doubting” Thomas.
Our first reading this weekend is taken from the Acts of the Apostles. Our first reading will be taken from the Acts of the Apostles throughout the Easter season. It is a description (perhaps a bit idealized) of the life of the earliest Christian community. The early disciples were dedicated to prayer, study and community living. They also “devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking break in their homes.” These last few words are an obvious reference to the Eucharist.
Our second reading this weekend is taken from the first Letter of Peter. In it Peter reminds his audience that because of Jesus Christ, they have an inheritance in heaven which is kept for them “although now for a little while you may have to suffer though various trials………..."
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. What would you say to someone who had doubts about the resurrection?
2. Why is it hard for us to live as the early Christians did in the first reading?
3. While I wholeheartedly believe that because of Jesus we have an inheritance in heaven, I don’t know that this is always comforting to someone who is suffering trials now. Is this an issue for you?