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This Week's Liturgy

"the doors were locked"

April 27th, 2014 (see other dates)

Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday (Solemnity)

Discussion Questions for Reading 1

What parts of the life of the early Christians do you find yourself living as a Christian today? How do you do this? In what ways would you like to be more like the early Christians? How can you make efforts to do this?

One sure sign of their unity was that the early Christians shared what they had with those who had less. How will you try to follow this example?

Reading 1 Acts 2:42-47

Reading 1 Reflection

What an example of community life our reading from Acts describes! We see how the early Christians shared four basic activities that drew them together. They lived by the teachings of the Twelve, who had been taught by Jesus himself. They shared their possessions with one another. They prayed together daily in the Temple. Lastly, they gathered to celebrate the Eucharist in their homes.

Discussion Questions for Reading 2

People with a lot of money in the bank generally feel secure, as far as life in this world goes. They know they will never have to "go without." In this letter, Peter assures each one of us that we have an "imperishable inheritance kept in heaven for us." Our inheritance is our very salvation. Because we have faith in Jesus Christ, a faith more precious than gold, we will never have to "go without" God's love, no matter what trials we may have to endure. Our security is found in God's love. How do you live in this security? How can you help others to live in this security?

Reading 2 1 Peter 1:3-9

Reading 2 Reflection

The second reading, written to those who had recently become baptized Christians, helps them to appreciate who they now are. Their Baptism gives them the courage to be different from those who do not have the gift of faith. These Christian converts love Jesus and believe in him, even though they have never seen him. They rejoice greatly as they grow in resurrection faith.

Discussion Questions for Gospel

There are times when a person needs to be alone to think about something, or to deal with a pain or hurt that others might not understand or share. At those times, we might be tempted to "lock the doors" of our hearts to those who may be able to help. Remember that the risen Jesus can come through locked doors! Ask him to send help, perhaps through a parent, teacher, or friend.

Thomas is known as "the Doubter." However sometimes doubt can be a good thing. Why? What did Thomas' doubt lead to? Thomas doubted and we still call him a saint. Doubt was only one part of his path in following Jesus. What is a good way to handle our doubts?

Gospel John 20:19-31

Gospel Reflection

What a surprise for the disciples! The risen Christ comes to them through locked doors, breathes on them, and says, "Receive the Holy Spirit." By the power of the Spirit, the disciples will forgive sins and communicate the peace of Jesus himself. However, there is another part to this gospel story. The story revolves around Thomas but it is also about us. Sometimes we are like Thomas and miss the most important part of our faith, belief in Jesus! But "blest" are we who are guided in faith by the Holy Spirit.

Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades

Working Together

Explain to the children that the first reading today describes the way the early Christians worked together and shared their things with one another. We are called to do the same thing today! Provide an experience of sharing. Explain that each member of the group will draw an Easter picture of new life in springtime. Divide the group into pairs. Provide each pair with a box of eight crayons and drawing paper. Brainstorm ideas of springtime elements such as: flowers, trees in bloom, animals, etc.

During the drawing time, circulate among the pairs. Affirm the children who are working well together. After all are finished, ask: How did you feel about sharing today? Why do you think Jesus wants us to share? Point out that the early Christians took care of those who were sick. Have the children share their drawings by sending them to those in the parish who are sick.

Jesus and Thomas

Act out today's gospel.

Narrator: It was Easter evening. Jesus had risen from the dead that very morning. But the disciples were still afraid. They gathered together in a special room and locked the doors. Suddenly, Jesus came and stood among them! He said,

Jesus: "Peace be with you." (John 20:19)

Narrator: The disciples were so happy to see Jesus again! Jesus said,

Jesus: "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." (John 20:21)

Narrator: Then Jesus breathed on them and gave them the Holy Spirit! But, Thomas was not there at the time. When the others saw him later, they told him about it. They said,

Disciples: "We have seen the Lord." (John 20:25)

Narrator: But Thomas did not believe them. He said,

Thomas: "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." (John 20:25)

Narrator: One week later, the disciples again locked themselves in the special room, but this time Thomas was with them. Jesus again came and stood in their midst. He said to them,

Jesus: "Peace be with you." (John 20:26)

Narrator: But Jesus had something special to say to Thomas! Jesus said to Thomas,

Jesus: "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it to my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe." John 20:27)

Thomas: (goes down on one knee and looks up at Jesus) "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28)

Jesus: "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed!" (John 20:29)

Proclaiming Faith Activities

Daring to Be Different

In the second reading the early Christians are praised because they dared to be different from unbelievers. Even if others insulted or rejected them because of their faith, they continued to be true to themselves. How will you dare to be different? Complete the following:

  • Even though you do not see the risen Lord, YOU LOVE HIM.
I will dare to show that I love Jesus by ______________________

Suggestions: speaking up for him and his values with my peers, my family, my community.

  • Even though you do not see the risen Lord, YOU BELIEVE IN HIM.
I will dare to show that I believe in Jesus by _____________________

Suggestions: wearing a T-shirt with a gospel message, or helping others to see how beautiful God's gift of life is to us.

  • Even though you do not see the risen Lord, YOU REJOICE AT HIS RISING.
I will dare to show that I rejoice in Jesus' resurrection by __________________

Suggestions: inviting friends to an Easter party or celebrating the liturgy with enthusiasm.

Your Signature Prayer

A signature is special and unique. It signals to others our identity. John's Gospel today records the "signature prayer" of the apostle Thomas. When Christians hear "My Lord and my God!" they recognize the voice of one who is no longer filled with doubts. Write a signature prayer that expresses something about your faith identity.

Note: Before doing this activity, spend a short time in quiet reflection.

Suggestions: "Lord, all my hope is in you!" or "Lord, you are my strength!"

These prayers are signs to others of our trust in God's love. Volunteers might like to share their signature prayers.

For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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