14. May, 2015Church News, Feature, Ladyewell News Comments Off

SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER

R1. Acts 4:32-35//Ps 118:2-4,15c-16b&17-18,22-24 (R1)

R2. 1John 5:1-7//Accl. John 20:19// Gosp. John 20:19-31

 

I

COMMUNION: AN EXPRESSION OF FAITH OF THE EASTER PEOPLE

 

Pope Benedict XVI in his work “Call to Communion” affirmed that communion – koinonia – is to the nature of the Church. This forms the basis of our reflection on the readings of today. The readings of the Easter octave are centred on the resurrection appearances of the risen Lord of life and seeming unbelief of the “chosen witnesses” (see Acts 10:41). Today, John presents us with a faith-filled episode of the appearance of the Lord. Quite different from other appearances as earlier mentioned, John in a unique way presents a faith narration. The point of distinction from other appearances is on the fact that in the earlier ones the risen one either speaks to the disciples or attends to them by providing them with a breakfast and/or calling by name as in the case of Mary of Magdala (cf. John 20:11-18; Luke 24:13. 35-38). There is dialectic of seeing-touching-and-believing. In a special way, it was an appearance that took place before the feeble and fearful community of believers sharing the faith in communion behind closed doors.

In the first reading, the Luke brings out clearly the characteristic evidence of faith shared in a community as an intrinsic mark of the “chosen witnesses” – communal living of resurrection faith (Acts 4:32-35). It was a community of “one heart and soul” (cf. Acts) distinguished by common life. The second reading takes up the quality of this communion. It explains, in other words, the expression of communion in its fullest dimensions.

Faith, as it were, has a communal character and it is not lived in isolation. Thus, living the faith in the risen Lord involves its expression in the community of faith. It has both personal and communal character. On the one hand personal, in that the individual believer believes in the risen Lord from whom springs the faith of the community; and on the other hand communal for the believer expresses this faith in the community of the believers. Therefore, “living a truly Christian life involves putting into practice the faith we profess. There is no greater expression of faith than the life lived with others in Christian spirit of friendship, harmony and love” (Johnson Chacko {Ed}, God’s Word 2015, April 12, 2015).

From the above, one can say that an important aspect of the nature of the disciples’ life and unavoidably the Church is “communion”. The prior appearance of Jesus to the disciples with Thomas’ absence and the later again to them with Thomas as recounted in this gospel passage brings out clearly this fact of communion – they are together in one place, praying and sharing the faith amidst their confusion.

The living of the faith experience in a community of believers becomes a necessary evidence of expression. Today, the Lord calls us to have a self-examination of our faith-life in the community of believers – the Church gathered and the Church witnessing. We who are called “blessed” (for “not seeing and yet believe”) by Christ in today’s gospel are invited to live this communion received from the disciples. The true expression of our faith in the risen Lord made manifest in the daily living of this communion in its fullest dimensions. As such, the Easter People’s life is to be:

  • A life of love, faith, encouragement and hope (cf. Acts 2:42).
  • A life of agreement with one another (cf. Phil 2:1-2), for the community of “believers was united in heart and mind” (Acts 4:32).
  • A life of fellowship with Christ manifested in our fellowship with others (cf. 1John 1:6-7) through being devoted to one another (Rom 12:10), honouring one another (Rom 12:10), living in harmony (1Pt 3:8) and accepting one another (Rom 15:7). We are to be of loving service to brethren (Gal 5:13); show kindness and compassion (Eph 4:32); and “be compassionate as our heavenly Father is compassionate” (see Mat 5:48).
  • A life that brings to bear hospitality and loving good deeds (1Pt 1: 22; 4:9; Heb 10:24). This indeed is the life of those who have experienced Christ and the power of his resurrection (Phil 3:10).

The sure sign of the power of the risen Christ is shown by our expression of faith in the community in which we live. In this way, we witness with great power to the Resurrection of Christ. This faith is to be lived in joy. For “joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God”, as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin often said.

Peace be with you!