St. Wilfrid's Roman Catholic Church

Toronto, Canada

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Monday, May 29, 2017 - Easter Season

Reflections

for Sunday, April 12, 2015

This Sunday is so important that it has lots of titles in the tradition. It is the Octave of Easter. Up until about 1970 it was known as Low Sunday. It has also been called Thomas Sunday and Quasimodo Sunday. In some Eastern traditions it is called Renewal Sunday or Antipascha Sunday. Probably most of us have not even heard of some these titles, but may have heard of one or two of them. The titles simply reflect how important this Sunday is.

We should all know that movements begin often with great accord and a common approach to living. Then, as movements begin to mature, there come questions and differences and then conflicts. This early Christian community was no different. In the Acts of the Apostles today we read of the wonderful harmony and sharing among the followers of Jesus at the beginning. It is the same book, the Acts of the Apostles, that will also record the beginnings of disharmony and conflict. The fact that the majority of the followers of Jesus still keep some harmony among themselves is one of the miracles of history. We know that the history of our Christian faith is also marked with the differences and conflicts that have arisen over the centuries. The challenge for you and for me is to keep our eyes on the Lord and on His love for us.

This harmony that we can have is based in the second reading today: In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments. The victory that conquers the world is our faith.

We are always trying to narrow the love that we must have. It is clear from Jesus, however, that He died for all, without exception. That means that we must love all, without exception. So historically there have been claims to killing others is really loving them, that forcing others to the truth is really loving them, that all types of actions against others are really a sign of our love. Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, calls us to seek ways of loving others without compromise: respecting their life, their freedom, their peculiarities, their ways of thinking, and so on. In the midst of that, we must remain faithful to all that Jesus taught us, personally and through His Church.

So we come to Gospel of John today and the story of the Apostle Thomas. We are all probably most like the followers of Jesus who have met Him in one way or another and sort of believe. Yet there are always some like Thomas, who refuse to believe until something extraordinary happens. This reality is reflected in our daily lives as well: openness to seeking the Lord or a reservation in seeking Him; openness to seeing Christ in others or a reservation about His presence in others; openness to encountering Jesus in those who do not believe or an openness to His presence there in the center of unbelief.

The Gospel does not condemn Thomas! Jesus, on the contrary, simply speaks of the belief of Thomas and praises those who can believe without seeing. Whichever model is closer to our own lives, the important reality is simple: believe and follow the Lord! May this Sunday of Divine Mercy help us know that mercy in our lives and share it with others. He is truly risen. Alleluia.

 
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Acts 4.32-35
Second Reading: 1 John 5.1-6
Gospel: John 20.19-31

Homily from Abbot Philip, OSB, of the Benedictine Abbey of Christ in the Desert.

   

Reflections are available for the following Sundays:

2017
2016
2015

St. Wilfrid's Parish, Toronto