Something for All of Us

– Second Sunday of Easter –

“All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” [Acts 2:44–47]

As we conclude our period of reflection together, we turn to what could be described as the utopian depiction of the early Church presented in the Acts of Apostles. It is a scene that has led to the foundation of many a renewal movement within the Church (for example, the desert fathers and mothers in the third century and beyond), inspired so many religious orders and religious congregations over the years (Benedictines, Franciscans, Jesuits, Marists…), and has prompted those who feel led to set up their own Christian groups (Methodists, Quakers and the Evangelical faith communities among many others).

It is simultaneously a depiction of how the Church remembered the joy of its ‘good old days’ (already the cracks were showing by the time we got to the Council of Jerusalem in 50 CE) and an inspiration to guide us as we work towards the coming of the kingdom.

That does not undermine its relevance, for it speaks of a way of being to which we are all called. At its heart is the challenging awareness that the resurrection of Jesus, lived in the power of the Holy Spirit, changes everything: how we relate to God, to one another, and to the world. If it does not, we may have missed the point of the resurrection and misunderstood what it is the Holy Spirit has come to do.

The life of faith is not without suffering. In today’s second reading, St Peter puts it this way: “In this [the resurrection of Jesus] you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith…may be found to result in praise and glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1). In the resurrection, the complexities of today do not undermine our hope for the future.

The final word belongs to today’s gospel text as reflected upon by Pope Francis. In a recent audience, the Pope reminds us that “Jesus’ merciful words to a doubting St Thomas reminds us that the Lord does not expect us to be ‘perfect Christians’. Instead, Jesus wants us to seek him, to call on him, or even, like Thomas, to protest, bringing him our needs and our unbelief. Thomas, who was not present the first time the resurrected Jesus appeared to the apostles, represents all of us” (Pope Francis, Divine Mercy Sunday, April 16, 2022).

Go now and proclaim the gospel with your life.


by Shane Dwyer

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