Friday, 10 April 2015

My Lord and my God!

Second Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Last week in a little liturgy the activity involved writing "I do" to the questions asked in the baptismal rite.  In our discussions at home, we felt that for some answers we considered putting "not so sure".  Today we discover that Thomas also felt this way and that Christ was there to answer his doubts.  This week, I have tried to explore how Christ is also there to answer our doubts.  

Summary of Liturgy of the Word

First Reading
Acts 4:32-35
Everyone in the group of believers was united, heart and soul.  They shared everything they had so that no one went without.

Psalm 117
Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.

Second Reading
1 John 5:1-6
If we love God and follow his commandments, we can overcome the world.

John 20:19-31
The disciples were hiding from the Jews in a locked room when Jesus came and stood among them.  He greeted them, saying, "Peace be with you".  Next he said:  "As the Father sent me, so I am sending you."
Thomas was not with the others when this happened and he did not believe that they had seen Jesus.  Eight days later, Jesus returned and spoke especially to Thomas.  He said that he could touch his wounds and then said "Doubt no longer but believe".  Thomas answered "My Lord and my God."  Then Jesus said "You believe because you can see me.  Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe."


Thomas famously found it difficult to believe that Christ had risen so he earned the name "Doubting Thomas".  Jesus sought him out and helped him to believe.  We may think that it was easy for the disciples to believe because they "were there".  However, they did not have the benefit of the New Testament collected as a book, they were scared and often persecuted and they did not always have the support of their friends and families.  We can now look back over nearly 2,000 years of Christianity for inspiration and assistance.  Like us, the disciples were often puzzled by what Jesus taught and found things difficult.  Peter, himself, was often slow to understand things and indeed denied that he knew Jesus when he was scared.  We should take courage from this.

Activity during Mass

Listening to the scriptures is a bit like being with the disciples when Jesus spoke to them.  Today Jesus says:
 "_ _ _ _ _    _ _    longer  _ _ _    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ".    After the Gospel, the priest gives a homily and then we say the Creed.  The word "Creed" comes from the Latin word "credo" meaning "I believe".

In today's Gospel, we see that Thomas had a hard time believing that Jesus was not still dead.  Look at some of our beliefs listed from the Creed below and underline the one that Thomas was finding difficult to believe:

I believe in one God
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ
I believe that Jesus came down from heaven
I believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary
I believe that Jesus suffered death and was buried
I believe that Jesus rose again on the third day
I believe that Jesus ascended into heaven
I believe that God's kingdom will have no end
I believe in the Holy Spirit
I believe in the life of the world to come

Now put a mark out of 10 by each statement.  Put 10 if you find it easy to believe and 1 if you find it difficult to believe.  Now add up to find your score out of 100.

Everybody finds believing difficult at times.  That is why Jesus gave us the Church.  The Church is a bit like a map to help us to follow Jesus.  It attempts to explain things and gives us company, help and energy on the way.   When Jesus says "Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe", he is talking about us.  He gave us the map so we can find him.

Other activities and resources

Look up some information about the early church and how they decided what to put in their creeds. The following link might be useful:

Information about Council of Nicaea

A famous painting may help you to explore today's Gospel:

Caravaggio's painting

I hope you have found something useful this week.


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