As we continue to celebrate the Easter season, we are offered a set of readings that remind us of who we are called to be as a Christian community. Since we all share in the one Spirit of Jesus, we should have much in common. As we continue to grow together, our community should reflect that oneness, and also allow for the differences we each have in our personal journeys.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting.
1 Peter 1:3-9
Although you have not seen him you love him.
“Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
It’s the Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday). Throughout the Easter season, we hear of the establishment of the early Christian Community after Jesus’ resurrection in part because this is what happened chronologically, but also because we just celebrated the Baptism of our adults and renewed our own Baptismal promises. These readings remind us of what we are supposed to be in our Baptism—how we should let God establish us as His church—as individuals, families and parish community.
The Second Reading speaks of, “Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope…”; the living hope of Baptism and Resurrection. It reminds us that, even though there will still be trials, we are a Resurrection People who live in hope every day. And, though we have not seen Jesus the way the Apostles did, we are able to see Jesus through our faith and the celebration of Eucharist.
The Gospel deals with Jesus sending his Holy Spirit to the community…with the exception of Thomas. He wasn’t there and had to wait for Jesus to make another appearance. This is interesting. It can remind us that, though we are one community, we do not receive the same understanding, or spiritual depth, or prayer life, or maturity all at the same time. We may be “of one accord” as the first reading says, but that doesn’t mean we are all in the same place.
I’ll bet you don’t remember your Baptism. One of the cool things about being Catholic is that each Easter we think about our Baptism again, and everyone is invited to say that they believe in their Baptism themselves every year! Now that you are old enough to understand what it means to be part of God’s family (better than when you were a baby), what does it mean to you? What does it mean to you that God is your Father?
Today’s Gospel tells the story about Thomas that we all know—it’s where he gets his nickname, “Doubting Thomas.” That’s really beat. Thomas was a good guy. Look back to the Gospel in the 5th week of Lent. When everybody else was scared to go with Jesus back into Judea, Thomas was the one who said, “Let us also go to die with him.” Do you know of anyone among your friends, teachers, parents, coaches or anyone who has gotten a bad rap like Thomas? What can you do to help people remember the goodness in that person?
Sometimes it can get pretty frustrating dealing with people that you think should “know better” or be more mature than they are. Today’s Gospel, among other things, makes Thomas an example of the guy who missed the boat. Ironically, Thomas may very well have been missing because he was brave enough to venture out where the other guys might not have. Our understanding and expectations of others might not always be fair. Think of someone who bugs you and try to find understanding for, and patience with them.
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”