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First Reading:              Acts 4:32-35

Responsorial Psalm:    118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24

Second Reading:         1 John 5:1-6

Gospel:                        John 20:19-31


Hello, my friends, and welcome to this homily teaching on the Second Sunday of Easter, also known as the last day of the Octave or eight days of Easter. The title of my teaching is “My Lord and My God.” Today I will speak about our readings with a focus on the Gospel of John. I will also share some Easter thoughts about Jesus after the Resurrection. We begin with the reading of the Holy Gospel According to Saint John+ May the Lord be in our mind, on our lips, and in our hearts.

In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you,’ and, after saying this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. ‘As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.’ After saying this he breathed on them and said: Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained. Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord,’ but he answered, ‘Unless I can see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’


Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you,’ he said.


Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving anymore but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him: You believe because you can see me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe. There were many other signs that Jesus worked in the sight of the disciples, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.


The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

Our first reading is from the book of Acts, chapter four, written by Saint Luke to accompany his Gospel about the early church. We read “the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power.” After the Pentecost in Luke’s writing, the disciples could not help but witness to the great miracle of the resurrection of Jesus and the healing power that flowed from God through them. The once ridiculed Apostles are esteemed by believers who bring their resources to them to help others in need.

In our responsorial psalm 118, we read about the great mercy of God for the house of Israel and all God’s people. The psalm states the “stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” referring to the rejection of the teachings of Jesus by the church leaders of Jesus’ day. The psalm appears as a prophecy that the teachings of Jesus are indeed from God. The psalm closes with the beautiful phrase that this day, the time when Jesus reigns, is “the day the Lord has made, and we are called to rejoice and be glad.”

In the first letter from Saint John, a letter attributed to the Gospel writer and Apostle, to ancient believers in western Asian Minor, he assures believers of the certainty of their faith and refutes any heretical doctrines that do not support Jesus is fully human and fully divine. John writes, “whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God, and whoever loves the father loves the Son.” John writes Jesus saved us by His blood on the cross, and we now bear witness to this truth in the Holy Spirit. This letter is an important teaching to believers of all time.

We turn to John’s Gospel and the amazing story of Jesus walking through locked doors to appear to the believers in the upper room. The Risen Jesus appears and shows the Apostles the five holy wounds of His body on His hands, feet, and side. Jesus wants them to know He is real. Then Jesus gives the believers His peace and bestows on them the Holy Spirit through His breath, also called “ruah” in Hebrew meaning Spirit. In this Gospel passage, Jesus also comes on this eighth day to witness to Thomas, who was not present the first time Jesus appeared. Jesus comes to find the one lost sheep, Thomas, who will not believe until he places his hands in the wounds of Jesus. Jesus tells Thomas, “Do not be unbelieving anymore but believe.” Thomas states the great proclamation, “My Lord and my God!” Thomas experiences the love and mercy of Jesus. Now Thomas knows more, and he believes in Jesus.

John’s Gospel story ends with, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples… these are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.”  On reading this line from John, my first thought is, I would love to know more of the signs of Jesus after the resurrection. I want to know more about Jesus and the disciples before He ascended to heaven. I love to hear and read about Jesus. Like Thomas, I overcome doubt and fear with knowledge and learning. Knowing increases my faith.

I have also been thinking about the words and the actions of Jesus in the Gospels before and after His death and resurrection. I was struck that the demeanor of Jesus, in what He says and does, appears to be happier and lighter after the resurrection. He is almost playful in resurrection passages like when He calls out to Peter and the disciples, who are fishing, and says, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” Jesus knows they haven’t caught anything all night and then He creates such a great haul of fish for Peter that almost sinks his boat.  Then Jesus cooks breakfast for the Apostles with fish and bread and calls the Apostles, “My children.” And while all the miracles of Jesus are powerful yet after the resurrection, they have a slightly different touch of defying physics like walking through walls and being in two places at the same time. It seems to me that before the resurrection, Jesus shows more of His humanity, and after the resurrection, He shows us more of His Divinity.

My point is that I think Jesus knew the hard part of His mission on earth was done after the resurrection, and He was heading home to the Father. While I am sure Jesus would miss His friends, He must have been greatly relieved and happy to go home. After the resurrection, Jesus knows He never has to face earthly pain again. To me, Jesus is relaxed and more complete in His humanity and Divinity. When He ascends to heaven, Jesus brings His fully Divine and human natures to heaven for you and me to achieve eternity in soul and body. Finally, during Easter, I think the whole tone of the liturgy, our prayers, and the church community is lighter, happier, and more joyful. This is the day the Lord has made, and we are glad and rejoice!

In closing, I believe the more we know about Jesus, Scripture, and Church teaching, the more we improve and grow in our faith. I compare gaining greater knowledge of Jesus to knowing more and falling in love with a dear friend or spouse. The more time we spend with someone we care about, the more we want to spend with them. And the more time we spend with them, the closer we become. After I met my wife, Rose, more than 40 years ago, I wanted to know more about her, her family, and friends. I wanted to know everything about her. I think our relationship with Jesus is similar and hopefully even deeper. The more we know about Jesus, the more we want to know about His Father, His Spirit, His family, and His friends. For me, knowledge of Jesus overcomes doubt and fear. The more I know Jesus, the more I trust Him and believe in Him. And I believe that Jesus has a plan for your life and mine. And this plan is deeply rooted in the love and mercy Jesus has for each one of us. Jesus literally gave us all He had.

May you have a blessed Eastertide as we celebrate this beautiful season.

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