HOME Homily Archives - Year C Second Sunday of Easter, Year C

Second Sunday of Easter, Year C
Homily. Readings: Acts 5: 12-16; Psalm 118; Revelation 1:9-11, 12-13, 17-19; John 20:19-31.


White Stole and Gospel
Readings: Acts 5: 12-16; Psalm 118; Revelation 1:9-11, 12-13, 17-19; John 20:19-31

Christ the Living One.” This is how he is “seen” by the visionary of Patmos, this is how he introduces himself to the disciples closed up in a house for fear of the Jews, this is how he is experienced by the early Christians of Jerusalem. “I am the Living One, I was dead and look - I am alive for ever and ever,” says the human figure to St. John in a vision (Second Reading). The Living One appears to the fearful disciples to pour peace into their hearts, to entrust the mission to them and grant them the Spirit (Gospel). The Living One continues to work signs and miracles among the people through his apostles (First Reading).

The Living One surprises all. If there was something that the disciples did not expect it was that Jesus Christ would come back to life and appear to them without losing his identity with the Crucified One. The Gospels emphasize this striking surprise, which led Thomas to be so bold as to ask for evidence. It surprised the women who went to Jesus’ tomb and found it empty, it surprised the two disciples on their way towards Emmaus, it surprised the disciples gathered in a house. So many surprises at the same time on this first day after the Sabbath! Why are they surprised, if they believed in the resurrection from the dead? Why are they surprised, when they had seen Jesus bring back Lazarus, Martha and Mary’s brother, from the dead? Why are they surprised, if Jesus had foretold it on several occasions during his public ministry? They are surprised because what their eyes see is astounding. As good Jews, educated by the Scribes and Pharisees, they believed in the resurrection of the dead, but not in time; rather, at the end of time. They are surprised because Jesus’ historical Resurrection is a unique case and absolutely different from that of Lazarus, from that of Jairus’ daughter or of the son of the widow of Nain. Jesus is alive, but his life is no longer exactly the same as ours; it is a different life, a new and greater life. They are surprised because it is one thing to listen and to hear, but experiencing something is a totally different matter. The disciples do not hear that Jesus is going to rise from the dead on the third day, they see him and hear him once he has risen, they experience him as he who has overcome death, as he who lives forever. Lucky is the man who is permanently surprised by the living Jesus Christ!

The gifts of the Living One. What does the Living One give his disciples? 1) He gives them peace, his peace. They needed it because they were weak with fear. They needed it, to put their minds and hearts at rest in the present and for the future. He gives peace to all those who are present, not just to a few privileged ones. A peace that no one will take away from them from now on, nor will trials or death. 2) He gives them his own mission: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” For three years, they have grasped Jesus’ mission and his way of fulfilling it. Now Jesus asks them to continue his work in Judea, in Samaria and to the ends of the world. 3) In order for them to fulfill his mission with courage and inner freedom, he gives them the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is inseparable from the mission of Jesus Christ, and will continue to be inseparable from the mission of the apostles. He shall make their apostolic work fruitful, and in a century’s time they will have conquered the largest areas of the known world. 4) He
gives them his power to forgive sins. Since only God can forgive sins, they will forgive them only in the name of Jesus Christ and by virtue of God’s power. This forgiveness is something all people feel the need for, because if they are sincere, they will realize that they are guilty. 5) He gives them his obliging love, as happens with Thomas, so as to steady their faith. “Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving any more but believe” (Gospel). This understanding that the Living One has of our misery is wonderful. 6) He gives them the power to build up the Church through prayer and preaching, by working many signs and prodigies, especially by healing in the name of Jesus (First Reading).

The Christian outcry for life. How many people die a violent death each day in your country, in the world: in wars or conflicts, in prisons, in homes, in hospitals, in city streets, on highways? Jesus Christ, the Living One, has come in order for people to have life. And God is the only Lord of death and life. Why are there so many men and women who believe that they are the lords of life, and give it and take it away according to their own interest? The outcry of Christians in favor of life must first of all be raised to heaven, to the Living Jesus Christ, in order for him to open the minds and hearts of men and women to the value of every life, from conception until natural death, and in order for him to give people the clear and firm consciousness of the fact that they are the administrators and not the lords of life. The outcry of Christians in favor of life will also be addressed to state and public institutions, in order for them to defend vigorously and constantly all forms of human life, in order for them to protect the life of citizens, especially the innocent and powerless, and in order for them to promote love for life in a responsible way. The outcry of Christians for life will resound in their hearts so that, in spite of so much violence and so many murders, they never lose sight of the divine origin of life, the primordial value of existence, and the dignity of all human life. Christians cry out for life, yes, for earthly life in its value and contingency; but they also and especially cry out for the life of grace, that is, for the presence of the living Christ in the soul. The clamor for eternal life, the victory over death and the ineffable experience of a new life, in eternal closeness with God and all the saints.

Do not pass through life: live it. Life is a task for responsible people. God did not give us our life so that we could pass through it, as one passes through a fair or an amusement park. One arrives, sees what’s going on, has fun and leaves... God gave us life so that we could live it according to our human and Christian dignity. God did not give us life so that we could spend it well, but rather so that we could spend it doing good; not to stroll through it like tourists, but to build a better and more Christian world; not to step on everything that comes our way, but to love all, especially the neediest. This notion of living life holds true especially for youngsters, who are looking at it in the face and still have almost all of it before them. It is so beautiful that it would be a pity for them to lose or waste it! It also holds true for those that have already entered the age of maturity or even old age, for every day of life is a blessing, a task, a goal to achieve. Blessed are those who can live their life until the end, loving God and mankind with joy. Is there a better way to live this life? Is there a better way to prepare for the life that awaits us? May Christ the Living One be the lit torch that guides us in our steps through life, so that we may truly live it.