Second Sunday of Easter

Begin with a few moments of quiet.

The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered.

This is a 5 minute facilitated meditation on opening ourselves to the presence of God within, particularly in the context of our current confinement

Alternatively use this method of entering quiet:

Invite all present to sit comfortably.

When sitting comfortably, take three deep breaths, as you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.

Now return to breathing normally and make the sign of the cross:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Invite each person present to take a few moments to reflect on:
Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?

Allow time in quiet for this and then, after a few moments, invite those present to share on this, if they are comfortable to do so.
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Introduce the Gospel

The journey for the disciples of Jesus from the events of Easter through to Pentecost was one of growing in understanding. It is a journey form total confusion and loss through to the confidence of Pentecost Day, when they are empowered to spread the Good News of the resurrected Christ.

How did any of us make the journey towards faith in Christ? No doubt a great part of it is simply what we received—usually from family. At some point, did I make a conscious choice?
Perhaps at other times, I felt like walking away from the faith project? What kept me going? Did a more personal ownership of faith result? Perhaps I felt the intuition of John O’Donohue, “Faith is helpless attraction to the divine.” In spite of everything, in spite of myself, somehow it is part of who I am.

We are going to read from John’s account of this event today.

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

Read the GospelJohn 20:19-31
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw t he Lord.  Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”  Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.  But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Reflect on the Gospel

Take some time now to reflect on what you have read.
There are many approaches to this. Use a method you are used to or use the one we offer here:

Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge. Use the quietening music again if you wish

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Having read the Gospel sit quietly for a few moments to allow the words of it to resonate with you. When you are ready, use one or more of the following questions to assist deeper reflection. You don’t need to use them all in one sitting. You can revisit this page on any day over the week to read again the Gospel and to use a different one of the questions.

  1. “Peace be with you” was the greeting of Jesus on meeting his frightened apostles.
    Who has come to you bringing peace at times when you were afraid?
    To whom have you been able to bring peace?
  2. Thomas, doubting and questioning, is possibly a person with whom we can identify.
    What part have doubting and questioning played on your faith journey?
    How has your faith been strengthened by such moments?
  3. Note the way that Jesus dealt with Thomas. He did not give out because he doubted. He accepted how he felt and led him along to see the truth of his resurrection.
    Who has been that kind of teacher for you, gently taking you from where you were and leading you to a deeper knowledge about some truth about life?
    For whom have you been that kind of teacher?
  4. “Blessed are they who have not seen and yet believed”. That requires great trust. Perhaps you have had the experience of being trusted without having to justify every step along the way. What was it like to be trusted in that way?
    Who have you been able to trust in a similar manner?

Finish this part with a Prayer

Saving God, as we recall in word and gesture the great events of salvation, let us know your healing love once more. Amen.

Prayer of the Faithful

In the Mass, the prayer of the faithful are the people’s response to their reflection on the Scripture readings. The following have been prepared by parishioners for our Masses on this weekend.

We open our prayer by addressing God directly:  In our continued isolation and separation we can be at one with Mary in despair at the empty tomb. But in remaining there, in her grief and loss, we know she had an encounter with the risen Christ.  We turn to this same risen Christ and offer our thanksgiving for our experiences of the Body of Christ active in our world:

Ours are the eyes with which the Risen Christ looks with compassion on this world:
we rejoice in the work of the various front line staff: medical, cleaning, transport, policing, bin collection, street cleaning, fire and ambulance.
Lord hear us, for we are an Easter people rejoicing in You.

Ours are the feet with which the Risen Christ walks to do good:
we celebrate in the work of our food producers, farmers, fishermen, growers, postal deliveries, supermarket and corner shop staff and cashiers.
Lord hear us, for we are an Easter people rejoicing in You.

Ours are the hands, with which the Risen Christ blesses our world
we give thanks for our priests, our religious leaders, those many and various volunteers involved in supporting us in our confinement.
Lord hear us, for we are an Easter people rejoicing in You.

We are the hands, we are the feet
we acknowledge all of us who are working together in saving lives by staying in, by keeping apart, by remaining together in our separation.
Lord hear us, for we are an Easter people rejoicing in You.

For your own intentions: name those intentions you specifically want to mention Lord hear us, for we are an Easter people rejoicing in You.

For all who have died  ………. name those people you specifically want to remember Lord hear us, for we are an Easter people rejoicing in You.

Loving God, you love us more than we can imagine or take in. Help us to allow ourselves to be so loved by you, that your love may penetrate our hearts, our lives and our loves. We ask this through Jesus, who died and rose for love of us and who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Use the quietening music one more time, if you wish, to bring your prayer time to a close.

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Additional Resources

Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Gospel. – Click Here