Second Sunday of Easter (April 23, 2017)
With the reading of Peter’s First Letter, we are invited to join the whole Church in offering praise to our heavenly Father for his great mercy, shown to us in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Through God’s mercy, we draw new life from the resurrection of Jesus and partake already in eternal life. Through his mercy, we already possess an imperishable inheritance. We are also reminded of the cost of this new life - the death of Jesus on the Cross - a death we too must share in. This new life that we celebrate will pass repeatedly through the cycle of death to new life. Each new suffering that we experience can lead us to a new experience of Jesus’ resurrection.
We have been encouraged to appreciate the description of the early Jerusalem community as a model for our own experience as a faith community. We all know from our experience that these expectations are not easily achieved. Each of us individually and all of us together must learn to share all things in common - including suffering, patience, forgiveness, and love. All of these are the marks of the crucified Jesus that we must learn to bear in order to bring about the transformation needed to live as Jesus calls us to live.
The ability to do all this must rest on faith that Jesus lives within and among us and shares the power of his death and resurrection with us. The signs of Jesus’ scars are the human weaknesses we see among us. In those scars we can learn to acknowledge “My Lord and my God” as Thomas did.
The glory of resurrection is to be revealed through the weakness of human flesh. The hope held out to us by our faith reaches beyond reality and expects more than what is seen and what seems possible. This hope brings us through the daily deaths we need to experience to new glory and wonder at the power of the Lord Jesus to transform those who are willing to be transformed.
There is a cost to living as the Jerusalem community lived - the daily cost of dying to our self-interest and selfishness. But the cost is nothing compared to the joy and strength we can be for one another in a loving community of faith and hope. Our willingness to accept the daily death required to live our common life opens us to sharing in an ever-deeper way in the risen life of Jesus. May we praise the great mercy of our God by letting Jesus live in us more fully each day.