2nd Sunday of Easter Year C
Theme of the week: Now resurrected, Christ brings forth his grace to us through his Sacraments, administered to us through earthly intermediaries.
The First Reading paints the picture of an early Christian community, with Peter as its first leader. It is a model community that we should emulate – they met regularly; were unafraid to proclaim their beliefs; and were growing in numbers. As they cured the sick and cleansed those possessed by unclean spirits, they carried out the mission of a Christian community in bringing goodness to the world. These acts of healing were an early form of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. In this Sacrament, as in all other Sacraments, the grace of God is administered through the hands of earthly intermediaries, such as in some cases, through Peter’s shadow (verse 15).
The Second Reading marks the beginning of the Book of Revelation, in which John had a vision. In the vision, he came face to face with the risen Christ, who was referred to as “one like the Son of Man” (verse 13). The use of the same phrase as Dan 7:13 to refer to Jesus is not coincidental. Rather, it draws our attention to John’s vision coinciding with that of Daniel from the Old Testament: Jesus is the Eternal King of the living and the dead (verse 17-18, Dan 7:14). In the passage, Jesus comforted John (“Do not be afraid” – verse 17); and proclaimed to him “I am the first and the last” (verse 17). Jesus was there when the world was created (John 1:1-3) and will be there to raise us up on the last day (John 6:40). He was dead but is now alive – he has conquered death. Having conquered death, He holds “the keys of Death and of Hades” (verse 18). And this is Good News for all of us: through Jesus’ work of redemption, we now enjoy everlasting life with Him.
The Gospel passage tells the story of Jesus’ appearance to the Apostles after His Resurrection. Through these encounters, Our Lord conferred graces upon his followers:
- Jesus’ first greeting to the disciples was “Peace be with you” (verse 19). The resurrected Christ brings us true peace, a peace that only God can give.
- Jesus endowed the disciples with the Holy Spirit, which was brought forth dramatically subsequently on Pentecost Day.
- Jesus gave the disciples the authority to forgive sin, an authority exercised today by the priests through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As with the Anointing of the Sick in the First Reading, we witness the grace of God administered through the hands of earthly intermediaries.
- In the episode of “doubting Thomas”, the Lord’s last words to Thomas were “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” (verse 29). This is a stark reminder to us that the essence of true faith is to believe without needing proofs. (See also Hebrew 11:1-3)
Our Lord has conquered death and conferred to us grace through his Sacraments. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” (verse 29). Doubt no more, praise be to God, for He has risen!