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Wednesday, April 20, 2022

We all rise: The Second Sunday of Easter

We all rise

The Second Sunday of Easter

April 24, 2022

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Acts 5:12-16; Psalm 118; Revelation 1:9-19; John 20:19-31


          An extraordinary proof of the Resurrection of Jesus was the transformation of the disciples into men and women who boldly proclaimed what they knew to be true from their experiences. The Apostles healed many and performed wonders publicly and the ministry of Jesus continued through their preaching. Through their actions, many were brought to belief to the astonishment of the crowds who just days earlier handed Jesus over to crucifixion. Many in the crowds began to doubt whether they were right to condemn a man to death.


          The Gospel is about dealing with Thomas’s doubt without having direct experience of the Risen Jesus, and it reminds us that doubt is a necessary and natural part of faith, and it is important to note what this doubt leads to – a sense of peace and greater certainty. Having doubt does not create a weaker faith, but one that might be examined maturely. Thomas does not have to touch the wounds of Jesus. He no longer needs physical proof as he once demanded. The mere presence of Jesus erases his doubt and allows him to make one of the greatest statements of faith – My Lord and my God – a saying that many Catholics say interiorly during the consecration. 


          Jesus was not the only one to rise at the Resurrection. When he returned to his friends to share the news of God’s victory over death and sin, he raised the disciples to a new height of being. Those who were healed in the Acts of the Apostles were raised to good health and spiritual maturity. Thomas was raised to a high level of faith as he uttered his oft quoted words, and we are healed when we contemplate what the resurrection was.


          Two weeks ago, I saw the play “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and the child, Scout, at the beginning mentioned that we were about to witness a trial, and that when the judge came into the courtroom, the court officer would yell “All Rise.” Scout made the point that it was not that we were merely to stand, but we as individuals and as a community were to rise. We are to rise to a new, heightened level of justice – to invoke God’s justice – and to seek the greatest good in the proceedings. All the parts of us that are self-concerned, self-interested, self-absorbed must be subjugated by our command to rise beyond who were thought we were to become the person God intends us all to be. This injunction is what happens at the Resurrection. It is not merely Jesus who was vindicated by God and raised from the dead. We are raised with him. 


          This rising takes time, just as it did for Thomas. Over the past few days, I saw images of Jesus on Easter morning sprinting out of the tomb to declare his victory, and I can’t imagine his first steps were like that. Having just run the Boston Marathon, I feel hobbled, pained, and I have to step gingerly, and this is more in line with the way Jesus must have felt when we rose from the tomb and took his first steps to a new life. The wounds and the muscle aches must have been tremendous as he learned to walk again. This is real life and not a spiritualized view, and it is important for us to remember that in our faith life, we are sometimes hobbled by our new experiences and our doubts, but that they are necessary for rebuilding the strength for our new life – a life of being risen with the Lord.


          So, as we contemplate the first steps of Jesus in his resurrected life, let us remember our own tentative steps to greater faith, and let us choose to rise with him to new heights – individually and as a community – for we have seen the signs and wonders, and we are called to something greater. Let us raise our hearts and minds; let us raise our doubts and ponderings; lets us raise our care for the common good and our love for one another. Let us hear the words of Jesus this morning as he stands in our midst as he calls us: All Rise. Alleluia. 


Scripture for Daily Mass


First Reading: 

Monday: (Acts 4) Peter and John return to their people after being released from the religious authorities. They prayed about their ordeal and the whole house shook and all were filled with the Holy Spirit. 


Tuesday: (Acts 4) The community of believers was of one heart and mind and together they bore witness to the Resurrection. Joseph, called Barnabas, sold a property and give money to the Apostles. 


Wednesday: (Acts 5) The high priest with the Sadducees jailed the Apostles but during the night the Lord opened the prison doors and the Apostles returned to the Temple area to preach.


Thursday: (Acts 5) The Apostles were brought forth again during their arrest and they were reminded that they were forbidden to preach. Peter said on behalf of the Apostles that they are to obey God, and not men.  


Friday (Acts 5) Gamaliel, the Pharisee, urges wisdom for the Sanhedrin declaring that if this is of God, it cannot be stopped, but if it is of men, it will certainly die out. 


Saturday (Acts 6) The number of disciples grew. The Hellenists complained to the Hebrews that their widows were being neglected. The Twelve decided it was right to select seven reputable men (deacons) to take care of the daily distribution while they continued with prayer and the ministry of the word. Meanwhile the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly. Even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.



Monday: (John 3) Nicodemus, a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews comes to Jesus wondering about where he is able to do the great miracles and teachings. He tries to understand. 


Tuesday: (John 3) Jesus answered Nicodemus saying, “you must be born from above” to accept this testimony. 


Wednesday (John 3) God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but that the world might be saved through him. 


Thursday (John 3) Jesus explains that he was come from above and speaks of the things that are from above. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. 


Friday (John 6) Near a Passover feast, Jesus miraculously feeds the hungry crowds as a good shepherd would. He reminds the people that the actions in his earthly life were precursors of the meal that they are to share. They are to eat his body and drink his blood.  


Saturday (John 6) Jesus then departs to the other side of the sea. When a storm picks up, he walks on the turbulent waves and instructs them not to be afraid. He is with them. He has power over the natural and supernatural world. 


Saints of the Week


April 24: Fidelis of Sigmaringen, priest and martyr (1578-1622), was a canon lawyer from Swabia, Germany who became a Capuchin Franciscan  in Switzerland in 1612. Prior to priesthood, he tutored nobles in France, Italy and Spain and helped interpret legislation that served the poor. He was known as the "lawyer for the poor." He was later appointed to the challenging task of preaching to the Protestants in Switzerland, where he was killed for being an agent for the king. He was the head of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in anti-Catholic hostilities. He was accused of being the king's political agent and was assaulted and killed. 


April 25: Mark, the Evangelist is the author of the earliest Gospel and is associated with Peter whom he heard preach. Mark was a member of the first Christian community in Jerusalem and his mother owned a house in the city that was used as a place of prayer during Peter's imprisonment under Herod Agrippa I. He was originally a companion of Paul and Barnabas having traveled with them back to Antioch in Syria. Later, they brought him along as their assistant on a missionary journey. He is associated with Peter’s ministry later in life. He was sent to Alexandria and formed a church that is now known as the Coptic Orthodox Church.


April 28: Peter Chanel, priest, missionary, martyr (1803-1841), is the first martyr of the Pacific South Seas. Originally a parish priest in rural eastern France, he joined the Society of Mary (Marists) to become a missionary in 1831 after a five-year stint teaching in the seminary. At first the missionaries were well-received in the New Hebrides and other Pacific island nations as they recently outlawed cannibalism. The growth of white influence placed Chanel under suspicion, which led to an attack on the missionaries. When the king’s son wanted to be baptized, his anger erupted and Peter was clubbed to death in protest. 


April 28: Louis of Montfort, priest (1673-1716), dedicated his life to the care of the poor and the sick as a hospital chaplain in Poitiers, France. He angered the public and the administration when he tried to organize the hospital women's workers into a religious organization. He was let go. He went to Rome where the pope gave him the title "missionary apostolic" so he could preach missions that promoted a Marian and Rosary-based spirituality. He formed the "Priests of the Company of Mary" and the "Daughters of Wisdom."


April 29: Catherine of Siena, mystic and doctor of the Church (1347-1380), was the 24th of 25thchildren. At an early age, she had visions of guardian angels and the saints. She became a Third-Order Dominican and persuaded the Pope to return to Rome from Avignon in 1377. She died at age 33 after receiving the stigmata.


April 30: Pope Pius V, Pope (1504-1572), is noted for his work in the Counter-Reformation, the Council of Trent, and the standardization of the Roman Rite for mass. He was a fierce conservative who prosecuted eight French bishops for heterodoxy and Elizabeth I for schism. The Holy League he founded defeated the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto whose success was attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 


This Week in Jesuit History


  • April 24, 1589. At Bordeaux, the Society was ordered to leave the city. It had been falsely accused of favoring the faction that was opposed to King Henry III. 
  • April 25, 1915. Pierre Rousselot, Professor at the Institute Catholique in Paris, is wounded and taken prisoner during World War I. 
  • April 26, 1935. Lumen Vitae, center for catechetics and religious formation was founded in Brussels. 
  • April 27, 1880. On the occasion of the visit of Jules Ferry, French minister of education, to Amiens, France, shouts were raised under the Jesuit College windows: "Les Jesuites a la guillotine." 
  • April 28, 1542. St Ignatius sent Pedro Ribadeneira, aged fifteen, from Rome to Paris for his studies. Pedro had been admitted into the Society in l539 or l540. 
  • April 29, 1933. Thomas Ewing Sherman died in New Orleans. An orator on the mission band, he was the son of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman. He suffered a breakdown, and wanted to leave the Society, but was refused because of his ill health. Before his death he renewed his vows in the Society. 
  • April 30, 1585. The landing at Osaka of Fr. Gaspar Coelho. At first the Emperor was favorably disposed towards Christianity. This changed later because of Christianity's attitude toward polygamy.


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