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2nd Sunday of Easter, Year B – Homily

2nd Sunday of Easter, Year B
Acts of the Apostles 4:32-35
1 John 5:1-6
John 20:19-31
April 12, 2015

The disciples are scared.  Jesus their leader has been arrested, beaten, and crucified.  They fear the same thing could happen to them so they gather together behind locked doors.

Not only would they have been scared but probably confused.  The tomb has been found empty.  In their minds, what has happened to Jesus seems impossible.  So they are greatly troubled.  In the midst of their troubles Jesus appears to them and says “Peace be with you.

He knows their troubles and He wants to help them.  He knows they don’t understand.  No one has risen from the dead before so they don’t know what to think about the empty tomb and the report that He is risen.

Knowing this, Jesus shows them His hands where the nails were driven through and His side that was pierced by the lance.  He does this to show that He is not just a ghost or apparition but that He is risen, body and soul.

In doing so, He shows what the Resurrection will be like for us.  Some early heresies in the church taught that the body was evil and that in death we would be set free from our bodies.  Jesus’ Resurrection appearances show us that we rise body and soul.  Both our body and souls are created by God and are fundamentally good.

The disciples would have found great comfort in seeing Jesus.  I know I find comfort in knowing that He has risen and that I can share in the Resurrection so everything doesn’t end with physical death.

Jesus came to the disciples in their fear but there was one who wasn’t there, Thomas.  When he hears of Jesus’ appearance, Thomas says he will not believe unless he sees Jesus for himself.

For this we call him Doubting Thomas but I doubt we would have been any different.  No one had risen from the dead before.  Why now?

Jesus had first appeared to Mary Magdalene alone.  With just one person seeing it, it would be very easy to think she was imagining it but then, without Thomas present, Jesus appears to the group of disciples.

Hearing it from the group, Thomas could have believed.  We believe today without having seen the Risen Jesus for ourselves.  How do we believe?  In part it is through the Holy Spirit but it is also because of the community of believers who did see the Risen Jesus and, through the Scriptures, shared their experience.

They say “seeing is believing” but we realize we are never going to see everything there is for ourselves.  We have to willing to accept the testimony of others but not just anyone.

The Acts of the Apostles tells us how the early Christian Community held everything in common.  They went so far as to give everything they had to the community and trusted in the community to provide for them.

While the sharing of material wealth was part of the early Christian Community, community is not just about sharing material wealth.

To be a community is to be one mind and heart, to share what our faith means to us, to trust one another.  Community also helps us to discern together what is really going on.  One person might have imagined seeing Jesus but the whole community?

So, Thomas should have believed what the other disciples had told him but it won’t have been easy.

What does being part of a community of faith mean to us?  Is Church just something where we all come to the same place to receive Communion?  Do we think we know best what is right and wrong or do we seek to learn from our community of faith what God teaches?

Now, it is not the community of faith that decides what is right and wrong?  We don’t vote on what is right and wrong but we count on the community of our faith, not just today but the whole Church over 2,000 years of history to help us understand what God says is right and wrong.  The community is the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit.

Doing what is right is not easy.  We need the support of the community to do better but we also need to know about God’s Mercy.  Today is Divine Mercy Sunday.  God’s forgiveness and mercy are part of what we believe in as a community of faith.  We need to be welcoming and forgiving to people who come here.

Community…..  what does it mean for you?  What do we need to do to be the community that God calls us to be?

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