United By The Risen Christ
Readings: (1st: Acts 4, 32-35 Ps 117: 2-7.15-24; 2nd: 1Jn 5, 1-6; Gos Jh 20: 19-31)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
On this second Sunday of Easter, united as a community of believers, we continue to express our joy and faith in the risen Christ. As we celebrate the victory of Christ over death, there is one important thing we must remember. This is that, we must be united in order to bear an effective witness to the resurrected Christ as the early Christian community did.
The first reading of this Sunday from Acts of the Apostles begins with the motto of my congregation – The Spiritans: “Cor unum et anima una” (One heart and one soul). This summarizes the way the early Christian community lived and testified to the risen Lord: “The apostles continue to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power, and they were given great respect.”
One of the best ways to bear testimony to the risen Christ is through unity. Christ himself prayed for it: “Father that they may be one as you and I are one” (John 17:21). Of course, he knew that there would be many challenges to this. He knew that this unity will not rob anyone of his individual personality. Above all, he knew that this unity is necessary for our success. It is unity in diversity for the progress of His mission.
Christ was sure that living in unity is the best testimony we can bear as his disciples. Hence, the early disciple paid attention to this instruction by being united in their mission. They demonstrated this through their preaching and lifestyles.
The Second reading equips us with the message we must spread about the risen Christ. This simple message is that: “Christ was crucified, died, was buried…that he resurrected through the power of the Holy Spirit on the third day.” Therefore, our second reading places a task on us as a community of faith. This task is to help others to know and believe that Jesus Christ has truly risen. This Testimony, must also be a testimony about us. That is to say, it must be reflected in our own lives.
After the arrest of Jesus, His disciples were scattered due to the fear of the Jews. They were so afraid that their peace was completely disturbed. Jesus knew this. This was why his first mission towards them was to restore their peace. Hence, on two occasions he said to them: Peace be with you, do not be afraid!
So, if the death of Christ dispersed us, as it dispersed His disciples, His resurrection must unite us. If His suffering and death chattered our peace and brought us chaos, his resurrection has restored our peace. This is because, the resurrection of Christ was a game changer. So, Christ says to us too: “Peace be with you, do not be afraid”, because I have truly risen.
So, this is a very important message that we must bring to our world that lacks peace. It is very important for our world, where all we hear every day is war, hatred, accident, shooting, massacre, assassination, kidnapping, killing, broken relationships, and all sorts of violence. It is a message for every individual that live in the fear of the uncertainties of life.
Finally, there are still so many Thomas who have not believed in Christ and the power of his resurrection. Paul reminds us: “…How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them…So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ (Rom 10, 14-17). Hence, it is our duty, to bring them to Christ through our witness. We must do this giving: “thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.” Alleluia!
Peace be with you!!