This Week's Liturgy
I Send You
April 3rd, 2016 (see other dates)
Second Sunday of Easter
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Just like the early Church, we are called to carry on the mission of Jesus. We can do this only when we grow in the knowledge and experience of the risen Christ in our lives. How can you use the Easter season to do this?
For those newly baptized or received into the Church, Eastertime is the time of mystagogia. This means "learning about the mysteries" of our faith. Pray for the new members of the Church, that they may grow into strong branches on the vine of Christ. How can you learn more about your faith during this Easter season?
Reading 1 Acts 5:12-16
Reading 1 ReflectionDuring the Easter season, the first reading each Sunday is taken from the Acts of the Apostles. This book of the New Testament is like no other. It gives us a beautiful description of the early Church community as it grew. Filled with the Spirit of the risen Christ, the disciples brought the healing love of Jesus to those in need. In doing this, they carried on his mission.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2We all know what an action hero with special powers in a movie or a TV show looks like. Often he wears special clothes, like a cape or special armor. Laser beams dart from his eyes. Special shoes or boots help him to fly.
Reread the passage from John. What in the description of Jesus--his voice, his clothing, his surroundings--tells us that he is a very special person? You might like to ask someone to read this passage again slowly. Then draw the seven gold lampstands with Jesus standing among them. Try to capture the richness of this scene. What is the difference between this image and the image we see in a crucifix? Why do we need both images to understand who Jesus is? What is the difference between Jesus and an imaginary action hero?
Pray together: Lord Jesus Christ, be the First and the Last and the One who is my life. Give me the courage to proclaim you. Help me to overcome my fears by knowing you are with me each moment of the day and night. Amen.
Reading 2 Revelations 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19
Reading 2 ReflectionToday's reading sounds a little different, doesn't it? It is filled with special symbols that were used to bring hope to the early Christians during a time of persecution. When we hear the words of the reading, we are filled with the hope of Easter, too. Jesus tells us, "Do not be afraid." Christ has conquered death. He is truly "the one who lives" forever.
Discussion Questions for GospelThomas is remembered in the Church as "doubting Thomas." Yet, Jesus respected his doubts, and answered them in a beautiful way. Thomas did not keep his doubts to himself. He shared them with the community and with Jesus. What can you do when you have a doubt or a question about something?
Thomas' response to Jesus is a beautiful prayer of faith and praise: "My Lord and my God!" Pray this prayer the next time you receive holy communion. Remember that your Lord and God is with you. What are some other ways you can pray this prayer?
Gospel John 20:19-31
Gospel ReflectionJohn's account of that first Easter night is filled with drama. Jesus appears through locked doors and gives his disciples his peace. He gives them the gift of the Holy Spirit and communicates God's power of forgiveness. Thomas, who misses out on this experience of Jesus, refuses to believe unless he can touch Jesus' wounds. A week later he has a chance to do just that! Thomas exclaims, "My Lord and my God!" And Jesus tells us how "blest" are we who have believed in his resurrection without having seen his risen body.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Seeing is BelievingIn the gospel reading, the apostle Thomas had to see Jesus to believe that He was alive even after the other apostles had told him so. Play a "Seeing" game with the children. Gather the children in a circle on the floor. Have one child leave the room or cover his/her eyes. Show the rest of the class an object from the classroom. Replace the object where it belongs. Have the child return to the room. Encourage the class to describe the object without telling what it is. The child who left the room must guess what the object is without seeing it. Show the object after he/she guesses what it is.
A Jar of HealingIn the first reading, the apostles Peter and John healed a paralyzed man. We, too, can heal others' hurts and disappointments with our words. Have children think of kind and loving words to say to one another. Write these words on paper band-aids. Place these band-aids in a jar. Each week, pull one band-aid out of the jar and read it to the children. Encourage the children to use these words of healing all week long. Place the band-aid on the prayer table as a reminder.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Scripture ScenesToday's readings should inspire any artist or film producer. Each reading offers dramatic scenes that remain in our memories.
Peter's healing shadow falls on the sick gathered in the streets.
John's vision of Christ announcing, "I am the first and the last, the one who lives."
The unbelieving Thomas placing his hand in Jesus' side and praying, "My Lord and my God!"
Choose one of these scenes. Draw it, or write a poem or description of how you see it.
Sending Faith NotesThink of someone you know who may be having a hard time right now. This person might be sick, depressed, unemployed, having family problems, or feeling forgotten. Send him or her a "faith note" in which you express your prayerful support. Let the person know that Jesus says to him or her today: "Blest are you who have not seen and have believed."
Plan your note here. Then rewrite it on a clean piece of paper. You may want to decorate your note with Easter symbols and colors.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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