April 15th, 2012, Second Sunday of Easter
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Choose one statement from this reading that you think shows the greatest contrast with today's world. Why do you think it is so difficult even for Christians to "be of one heart and one mind"? Why is it sometimes hard for us to share what we have with those who have less? Who are some of the people or groups you know of who do share generously so that others are not in need? What do you think members of Catholic religious orders might share with us about how to share our property and possessions?
What signs of sharing material resources do you see in your own parish? What signs do you give?
Reading 1 Acts 4:32-35
Reading 1 ReflectionDoes this reading sound like it is describing a dream world? Can we even imagine a world in which everyone shared what they had and no one was in need? The first Christian communities did indeed live in harmony and hold all of their property and possessions in common. They believed that the end of the world was coming soon. And they wanted to be ready for Jesus' second coming.
We do not know exactly when Jesus will come again. But we do know that he wants to find us providing for others' needs and living together in harmony.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Think of someone who has proven his or her love or true friendship for you. How has he or she shown love? How have you shown your love for this person? What connections do you see between loving God and relating to others as God commands? If someone complained to you that God's commandments are "too hard," what might you say in response?
If you wanted to help a child grow in understanding how Jesus loves us, how would you do it? Why?
Reading 2 1 John 5:1-6
Reading 2 ReflectionA small child may say, "I love you" to Mom or Dad, and immediately go off to do something Mom or Dad has told him not to do. But as we grow up, we come to understand that love is proven in action. Most importantly, as this reading reminds us, we prove our love for God and others by living as God has commanded.
Our model in what true love means is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who gave his life for us.
When do you find forgiving easy? When is it difficult?
Discussion Questions for GospelWhat is the first thing Jesus says to his disciples who are hiding behind locked doors? Why do you think he says this? What does receiving the power of the Holy Spirit enable the disciples to do? What good would you say came out of Thomas' missing out on Jesus' first visit?
How do we experience the peace and forgiveness of Jesus in the Church today? Sometimes when we hide behind the locked doors of doubt, fear, or anger, Jesus makes his presence known to us. What are some of the ways he might do that?
Gospel John 20:19-31
Gospel ReflectionPut yourself in Thomas' place. When the risen Jesus appeared to the other disciples, you were absent. Now they are insisting that not only did they see him, but he breathed the power of the Holy Spirit on them. Poor Thomas! You definitely feel left out. So you insist that you will never believe unless you get to stick your finger into Jesus' wounded hands and side.
A week later you have an opportunity to be true to your word. Jesus once again appears and invites you to touch and examine his wounds. Your doubts are blown away! You exclaim, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus points out that you believe because you have seen him for yourself. But who do you now hear him praising?