Homily Second Sunday of Easter Year B One mind and one heart

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Homily: Second Sunday of Easter Year B

 

Reading 1: Initial conversion is a beautiful time in one’s life. Initial conversion manifests a special fervor in one’s relationship with God. In our first reading, we have a glimpse into the life of the first Christians following Pentecost, when some three thousand were baptized.  We are told they came together for further apostolic instruction, for community life and sharing, for personal and communal prayer and, at the heart of their life, was the Eucharist, the breaking of the bread.

 

The first five chapters of the Acts of the Apostles convey the scene for us. They were of one heart and one mind. This is the ideal, which we are called to live. It is possible to so, as seen in the life of the early Church community. It was the honeymoon time in their relationship with Jesus. They are sustained by a deep love for one another, enjoying being together.

 

The early Christians saw that what they possessed was not theirs to use in a selfish way but to be shared with those in more need. Up to this time, there was no negative reaction to them from the outside. Then comes the first sign of persecution. They turned to the Lord for his protection. They were committed to proclaim the message of salvation, centered on the death and resurrection of Jesus. What disrupted their bliss was not extern but internal pressure.

 

They began to see certain faults in others in the community. Similar to what happens in the honeymoon stage of marriage. The couple become more award of each other’s faults, which become a bone of contention in their relationship. The earlier community lost the idealism of being one mind and one heart. This is what must be sought again.

 

Gospel: The resurrection of Jesus is a mystery of faith. No one witnessed the actual event itself. But many were witnesses of the Risen Savior himself. Here, we have two of those confirming appearances of the Risen Lord to his disciples. The resurrection is a mystery because it is beyond our natural comprehension. The characteristics of a glorified body are not limited by space and time. It is different in appearance but the same person. Jesus is not recognized so much in his appearances but in his words and actions.

 

But there are other mysteries in the Gospel narratives. Why does Jesus appear to those who did not at first freely believe, those who betrayed him and abandoned him? Why did he not chastise them rather than greet them with peace? Mystery. The commission he gives them seems impossible. As he was sent by the Father as Savior of the world, so they will be sent to bring this message to the world in the power of the Holy Spirit. Mystery. He tells them: “Whose sins you forgive in my name will be forgiven. Whose sins you retain in my name will be retained. Mystery.

 

How was it that the hardness of Thomas’ heart changed so quickly? He was angry that the others had an encounter with the risen Jesus and he didn’t. He not only wanted to experience Jesus but he wanted to verify in a tangible way that Jesus was truly alive by putting his finger into the nail wounds. And yet when he does experience the risen Jesus, his anger and his need to touch vanish. He is the first to proclaim in faith that Jesus is truly his Lord and God. Mystery.

 

Jesus’ response also reveals a mystery of our faith. “Blessed are those who believe in me without seeing me.” We are those prophesied by Jesus, who believe on the word of witness of others. Then John concludes. Through belief in Jesus we have divine life in his name. In him alone can we be one mind and one heart. In him can our life make a difference in another’s. The gift we have receive in mystery we are to give as a gift in the Holy Spirit.

 

Reading 2: What enables us to regain the ideal of one mind and one heart? John says the centrality of Jesus in our lives and loving the way he has loved us are the keys.  Centering our lives on Jesus and truly loving God and others will give us the power to overcome the external and internal pressures of community, whether that is Church or family.

 

Is Jesus in fact the Lord of our lives? Do our lives revolve around him in every aspect? Are we motivated by love in all we do? Do we see ourselves as victims of victors? Do we conquer our passions or do they control us?

 

We have been begotten by Christ in the waters of baptism. We have received the outpouring of the Spirit in Baptism and Confirmation. What does the Spirit testify about us? How committed are we to walking with Jesus on our daily life? How committed are we to living and acting in love in our family? Even though the reality of one mind and one heart seems at times distant, are we committed to follow Jesus’ plan, so that it can become the norm in all of our relationships? 

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