Jesuit Father Jean-Marcel Mupungu offers us a commentary on the readings of the second Easter Sunday of year C.
The liturgy of this second Sunday of Easter, Sunday of Divine Mercy, reminds us that our Christian life consists in giving thanks to God, in witnessing to God and in believing in God.
Give thanks goodbye: The psalmist invites us to give thanks to God for he is good, eternal is his love. In the first reading we discover the deployment of this love of God, better of his mercy through the works of the apostles. The people who rub shoulders with the apostles come away consoled, amazed by the signs and wonders that are accomplished in the name of God. The sick are healed, the unclean spirits are cast out. The people become attached to the Lord and the community of believers grows. Thus, the people recognize the presence of God through the acts of the apostles, and they bless the Lord. Today, this work of God continues to be carried out and each of us is without doubt a beneficiary of it. Hence the invitation to thanksgiving. In a world polluted by bad news, rumours, where the truth is negotiated on the bench of reckless ideologies, where evil is trivialized, breaking the momentum of living together, it is difficult to recognize the traces of God . The media amplifies what is wrong with the world, and prevents us from recognizing the wonders of God in our history. And we feel sorry for ourselves, forgetting to appreciate what we are, “children of God”, the dignity that no evil can take away from us. Thus, we are invited like the apostles to announce the good news, to reassure those who are afraid, to console those who are discouraged, to go out to meet the poorest. Let our deeds and our words therefore serve to praise, revere and serve God.
Testify of God : to give thanks to God is in fact to witness the good news that Jesus is, dead and risen. Today, many Christians are afraid and ashamed to be witnesses of Christ. They live their Christian or religious identity with a dulled conscience, and yet they have a lot to give to this world in search of landmarks, lasting reasons to hope, they have Jesus to bring to the world. We know that we only testify of God when we have an experience with Him, when we are in relationship with Him. We speak of God only when we know how to speak with Him. The disciples after the resurrection of Jesus, after having heard him, seen and touched him, spoken with him, went boldly to speak of him, to bear witness to him. Saint John in the second reading tells us about his vision. A one-of-a-kind experience. “Seized in the spirit, the day of the Lord”, he hears a loud voice asking him to bear witness to what he has seen, and to share it in writing with the seven Churches. In the Gospel we are reminded that there were still many other signs which Jesus had done in the presence of the disciples and which are not written down. We each experience God in our own way. Do we really know how to bear witness to this by our deeds and our words?
To believe in God : In the Gospel, Jesus appears to the disciples, brings them peace, breathes into them the spirit which gives them the power to forgive sins. And Thomas, who was absent, returns and meets Jesus but doubts whether to believe in his presence. He asks for proof. The context of the encounter between Jesus and his disciples resembles ours today with the thirst for peace despite the signed peace agreements. We see how these agreements cannot guarantee the desired peace. The lasting peace we need can only come from God. Hence the invitation to renew our relationship with him, to believe in his word. However, we know that in an increasingly materialistic world, it is difficult to believe in God. We look for proof, and therefore we bind ourselves to idols that reassure superficially. We doubt. Doubt can help to grow in faith but also be an obstacle, especially when we want to resolve everything with material evidence. May the Lord open our eyes to the marvels of his love, may he make us true witnesses of this love and may he increase in us faith in his presence in our world.
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Second Easter Sunday Meditation: “To Give Thanks, to Witness and to Believe” – Vatican News
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