Second Sunday of Easter
April 16, 2023
First Reading: Acts 2:14a, 22-32
Second Reading: 1 Peter 1:3-9
Gospel: John 20: 19-31
Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen
Gospel of (John: 20:19-31)
Hiding in fear, it was in the evening, all the doors locked, for fear of the Jews, coming after them.
This was a very stressful day, but so were the past few days. They were facing the awful reality of Jesus’s crucifixion and burial on Friday, this Sunday had brought some other news of Mary Magdalene had come, distressed, to tell the disciples that Jesus’s body was missing from the tomb.
Peter and others had run to check it out, and see for themselves…it was true, and here were the linen cloths that once wrapped the body and head of Jesus. But the body and head of Jesus weren’t there.
Later that day, Mary Magdalene had come once again, to tell them, “That she had seen the Lord.”
Even with the doors locked, Jesus came and stood among them. And He said, “Peace be with you.” He shows them his hands and side. They rejoiced and Jesus says it again, “Peace be with you,” he said as my Father has sent me, so I send you, then he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
Doubt and Faith
We know the story of how Thomas did not believe it until he sees Jesus for himself, the pierced hands, and his side. Thomas had been known for so much more, but somehow all anyone remembers him for now, is being the one who doubted. “Doubting Thomas.” The gospel, this morning, wants us and encourages us to be faithful, to trust, and to believe. And we do, as Christians live by faith and trust, something that has been taught for thousands of years.
I believe doubting things sometimes is a good thing, it keeps us on our toes, to measure out things, to make sure is not necessarily a bad thing.
When we allow trust, it helps us process what we are faced with, and trust is how we believe even when we cannot see, we still believe. We rarely have complete proof of anything, that is why we continue to turn to our scriptures, to reassure us, to teach us, so that we will teach others.
Although You Have Not Seen Him, You Love Him
In the second reading of 1 Peter, he is telling the people of that time, how by God’s great mercy, they have been given a new birth.
This is now/and then, a new identity; he is addressing the source of faith and hope.
He reminds them and us, that even with all the suffering, we, are being protected by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed.
Their faith and ours, more precious than gold…. we have been tested, but because of faith we can rejoice, even if we have not seen him, you love him, and because of this, you are on the receiving end of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
We must not allow our doubt to become the barrier and the stumbling block, rather live to the fullness of believing and faithfulness in our lives. And, we must not forget the rest of this beautiful story, Jesus said,
Blessed are we who believe without seeing and receiving the Holy Spirit. Blessed are we who rejoice with this enormous joy, and share these gifts with everyone we meet.
Together with the apostles, we are part of God’s greater plan, a living presence, that we believe, we are part of creating a world that believes without seeing. Spread the gospel that Jesus Christ loves everyone and wants everyone to follow him.
Christ Jesus has Risen; His resurrection is a symbol of hope that beats in the hearts of believers everywhere as they sing “Christ the Lord is risen today.”
Reverend Lola Culbreath