April 24, 2nd Sunday of Easter
Daily Readings: Acts 5:12-16, Revelation. 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19, Gospel: John 20:19-31
The reading from John’s Gospel begins with the group of disciples. Despite being a group and all men, they not only closed the door but locked it. It shows how terrified they were. When fear gripped them, they lost their inner strength. Also, they hoped in Jesus, whom they had watched with disbelief, whose miracles they had admired, whose healing powers they attributed to his direct divine connectedness, and whose command over the devils they had seen as his victory over all evil.
That’s what happened to those Jesus had trained for three years. Their hope vanished, and toxic fear re-entered their bones. Nightmares of possible crucifixions must have passed through their spines! So they huddled together inside the safety of a locked room.
The scenario in the first reading from the Acts is dramatically different. We read that multitudes of men and women were there in and around Solomon’s portico. It’s as if the episodes from Jesus’s days returned to people’s lives. In fact, in a much bigger way than when Jesus was alive with the disciples, from the time he moved into his public ministry, Jesus was Jesus. People knew him as a healer, teacher, and spiritual leader, and some took him to be the messiah. Wherever he went, people would gather to see him, listen to him, and hopefully experience some miraculous moments. People had gotten used to Jesus and his ways.
In most people's eyes, Simon Peter, unlike Jesus, was an ordinary person, a fisherman who had quit his job and followed Jesus. Now, all of a sudden, Peter has become like Jesus. So much of him has become unlike the Peter of old. They could see a new Peter as if he were possessed with the Spirit of the man who was crucified the other day in their vicinity. Peter and Jesus are now speaking in one voice as if they have merged into one person. Peter says this in the words, power, and spirit of the dead man, Jesus, rather than his own. They feel, in their hearts, that Jesus has become alive in the way Peter has turned out to be. It is as if there is firepower in his words.
Jesus needed Peter and the others whom he had trained for this day to continue the mission of Abba. We read that multitudes of men and women were gathered in Solomon’s Portico; some were bringing the sick into the streets; they laid them on cots and mats. They were devising plans for Peter’s shadow to fall on the sick; they wanted only the online presence of Peter for healing to happen. The springtime of Christianity had arrived. So we rejoice. Encountering the risen Lord not only unlocked the doors of fear in the Apostles, but they began to walk around and preach as if they were raised from the tombs of disbelief.
It was all a time for halleluiah for the Apostles and those who joined them in the post-Easter time. Life or death, it was all the same. It was all about Christ. It was all resurrection. Crosses were there too in their lives. But who bothered? The joy of the Easter news overwhelmed the quality of life. For the first time, life arrived at the place where Jesus must have hoped for.
As in the cases of Peter, Thomas, and the other disciples, the truth is that he needs us today to spread the joy of Easter. Jesus wants us to allow Him to take over us and circulate the news worldwide that He is here, alive and risen. He wants us to be like His apostles and experience the absolute joy of Easter and bring Christianity back to life in the world today.
Today's call is to get out of the locked rooms and spread the joy of Easter.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.