Notice During the Covid-19 Outbreak
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April 10, 2021
Acts of the Apostles 4:32-35
A Reflection from the Christian Traditions
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
The Second Sunday of Easter, known in some circles as “Low Sunday,” has always had a special place in the life of the Church. Named “Low Sunday” because it humbly follows the Mother Sunday of Easter. As the Season of Easter unfolds, the Christian community profoundly reflects on what it means to be a “risen” people. The resurrection of Jesus finds its reality in the people who rise to the occasion in the service and care of other people. These followers of Jesus are marked by humility, generosity, and self-giving compassion for others.
The First Reading for the Second Sunday of Easter is from Acts of Apostles 4: 32-35. We read the stunning verses, “the community of believers were of one heart and one mind. None of them ever claimed anything as their own; rather everything was held in common.” Over the years, these verses have been diluted into an ideal vision of a community yet to be realized. Some would say only a few can live according to the values found in these verses. Yet, the fact remains, the community is called to be the self-giving love and generosity of Jesus in a World where the presence of poverty and hunger is a scandal. If we take the resurrection seriously, we must rise up and go forth to uncompromisingly serve others in the manner of Jesus, who identifies with the poor, rejected, and hated of this World. If all we had were the first reading, it would be enough as it challenges the way we live and think.
The Gospel for this humble day is no less than John 20: 19-31. Thomas, a rather courageous and inquisitive disciple of Jesus in the Gospel of St. John, was absent when Jesus appeared to the disciples. While they were secluded in fear behind locked doors, Thomas was out and about. The Thomas episode is remarkable. He refuses to believe the testimony of his fellow disciples unless he touches the wounds of the Risen Jesus. One can only wonder why a Risen Jesus would still be wounded. Jesus appears to Thomas, blessing him with peace and Spirit. Finally, Thomas exclaims Jesus as his Lord. Thomas came to see Jesus when he touched the wounds of Jesus.
Perhaps the first followers of Jesus understood Jesus to be risen in the woundedness of the poor and afflicted. As they fed the hungry, clothed the naked, comforted the sick and imprisoned, and welcomed the stranger, they touched the wounds of the Risen Jesus. These wounds were and are the wounds of love.
Were you ever so tired, you ached from exhaustion? Were you ever wounded in attempting to help another person? Did your heart ever break as you experienced the suffering of another? These are your wounds, the signs of your loving care.
Thomas had the courage to touch the wounds of Jesus. The first followers had the courage to touch the wounds of the Risen One.
Blessed are you for touching the wounds of others with the love of your hearts and the deeds of your hands. Thank you for rising to the occasion to be the loving presence of Jesus to all. May the humility and simplicity of this beautiful and touching day be an inspiration to us as we humbly seek to touch the wounds of the Risen One in the crucified people of today.