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Posted: 4/27/2011 5:52:33 PM EDT
Sunday, May 1, 2011

First Reading:
Acts of the Apostles 2:42-47

[42] And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship,
to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
[43] And fear came upon every soul;
and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
[44] And all who believed were together and had all things in common;
[45] and they sold their possessions and goods
and distributed them to all, as any had need.
[46] And day by day, attending the temple together
and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food
with glad and generous hearts,
[47] praising God and having favor with all the people.
And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Psalms 117:2-4,13-15,22-24

R. (1) Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting.
R. Alleluia.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R. (1) Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting.
R. Alleluia.
I was hard pressed and was falling,
but the LORD helped me.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just:
R. (1) Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting.
R. Alleluia.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. (1) Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting.
R. Alleluia.

Second Reading:
1 Peter 1:3-9

[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through
the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
[4] and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled,
and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
[5] who by God's power are guarded through faith for a salvation
ready to be revealed in the last time.
[6] In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials,
[7] so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold
which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise
and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
8 Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him
you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy.
[9] As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls.

John 20:19-31

[19] On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."
[20] When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
[21] Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."
[22] And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
[23] If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
[24] Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
[25] So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them,
"Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails,
and place my hand in his side, I will not believe."
[26] Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them.
The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you."
[27] Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand,
and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing."
[28] Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
[29] Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."
[30] Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;
[31] but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that believing you may have life in his name.

Study Resource Page

Overview of the Gospel:

   * This Sunday’s reading begins on the evening of Easter Sunday and continues one week later—
the second Sunday of Easter. Every resurrection appearance of Jesus dated in the gospels occurs on a Sunday.
This Sunday is also Divine Mercy Sunday, declared by Pope John Paul II on April 30, 2000.

   * Jesus appears to his fearful disciples as they cowered behind locked doors.
He bears in his glorified body the scars of his Passion, showing he has the same
body he was buried with and is not, as the disciples fear, a ghost (Luke 24:36-40).

   * Jesus reassures them by saying “Peace” (Shalom). Jesus breathes on them,
imparting the Holy Spirit upon them. This anticipates the gift of the Spirit to be given to the
Church 50 days later on Pentecost. It also institutes the sacrament of Penance,
by which the apostles are empowered to forgive sins in Jesus’ name.

   * The apostle Thomas is not present at this first appearance and expresses his disbelief.
Jesus returns, however, and Thomas has a drastic change of heart.


   * In the 1st Reading, we see the early Church soon after the resurrection of Jesus acting in
power with signs and wonders, and growing rapidly. To what do we attribute this (verse 47)?

   * Re-read the 2nd Reading and try to unpack it line by line. What did God give us (verse 3)?
Through what power did that gift come (verse 3)? What is the end, or goal, of this gift (verse 4)?
If we persevere, what does God promise (verses 5-9)?

   * In the Gospel Reading, why are the disciples fearful at this time?

   * Of all the things Jesus must have said, why does John record “Peace be with”
you three times (verses 19, 21, 26)? How does this relate to their fears? To their being sent (verse 21)?

   * How does Thomas’ personality compare to Mary Magdalene’s (verse 13)?
To the other disciples (verses 9, 19)?

   * How does Jesus deal with Thomas’ doubt (verse 29)? What is significant about the
way Thomas responds?  How would you express your belief in the lordship and divinity of Jesus?

   * Where could you use Jesus’ “peace” right now? In some relationship?
In some inner fear? In your work?

   * What doubts or questions about God are you struggling with?
What have you found helpful in dealing with doubts?
Link Posted: 4/30/2011 1:10:43 PM EDT
* In the 1st Reading, we see the early Church soon after the resurrection of Jesus acting in
power with signs and wonders, and growing rapidly. To what do we attribute this (verse 47)?

It's apparent that the Holy Spirit is at work here. We do not have a weak, timid spirit. Ours is a bold, brave, and powerful Holy Spirit!

* In the Gospel Reading, why are the disciples fearful at this time?

Who wouldn't be fearful? The Apostles knew and believed Jesus was the Messiah––and look what the Pharisees and Sadducees did to him! I'd be quaking in my boots
behind locked doors as well.

BUT, there's a real subtle message here: a great reflection of Divine Mercy. Think about it:

At the Last Supper, the Apostles were all gung-ho about being with Jesus forever. Nothing would come between them. Right! And then they all fled, except John. And look at what Simon Peter told the Lord about never leaving Him. Yet, Peter denied Christ three times before daybreak. And now the disciples have seen their Messiah executed. Crowds were worked up and calling for blood. Jesus was gone from them––dead––they thought.

Well––if Jesus was the Messiah, and the true Son of God, would not his followers feel guilty about abandoning him? Someone they loved, honored, and respected for three years of his public ministry was totally forsaken. They deserted God! Denial of God is a sin. And what are the wages of sin? Death. What is the verdict for this? Justice would be done by punishing the offenders. It would be right and just. What should a God do to creatures who reject Him?

And now God returns! He's here among them. Being good Jewish believers, exactly what did God do in the Old Testament to those who abandoned Him? Right! He destroyed and punished them. Wiped 'em out in a heartbeat! You don't think this didn't cross Simon Peter's mind? He rejected Jesus three times, and now here he was facing Jesus. Look out unfaithful disciples!

Yet––what does our Lord say: three times he says: "Sha-lom." Peace be unto you. Three times! And we all remember Peter's three denials of Christ. Look how Jesus turned this betrayal around.

And he greets, reassures, welcomes, and loves his Apostles from the infinite depths of his merciful heart. We see Divine Mercy in the flesh. Revealed to us in Jesus Christ right here.

Divine Mercy goes above and beyond the call of justice. Jesus again offers us his whole being for our salvation.

All the "Old" rules and laws have been supplanted, have been transcended; no more vengeance, no more destruction. Only Divine Mercy, the unlimited forgiveness of sins. Mercy triumphs over justice.

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