Father Valan Arockiaswamy

Father Valan

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HOMILIES

Close Dear Audience,
For better understanding of the spiritual message behind this homily I kindly remind you to first read and contemplate the biblical texts before reading or listening to my preaching - a human reflection on the Word of God!

Second Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Apr 11, 2021 Views 91 Listen 1 Downloads 0
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First Reading

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles (4:32-35)

The community of believers was one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all.

There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them to the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalms of David (118:2-24)


(R) Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love is everlasting.

Let the house of Israel say, "His mercy endures forever." Let the house of Aaron say, "His mercy endures forever." Let those who fear the Lord say, "His mercy endures forever." (R)

I was hard pressed and was falling, but the Lord helped me. My strength and my courage is the Lord, and has been my savior. The joyful shout of victory in the tents of the just. (R)

The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. By the Lord has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it. (R)

Second Reading

A reading from the First Letter of Saint John (5:1-6)

Beloved: Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the Father loves also the one begotten by Him. In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey His commandments.

For the love of God is this, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith. Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and blood. The Spirit is the one that testifies, and the Spirit is truth.

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.

Gospel

A reading from the Gospel according to John (20:19-31)

On the evening of the first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to 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 into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."

Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe."

Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."

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

(P) The Gospel of the Lord.
(R) Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Homily

In today's gospel, we read two accounts of the many post-resurrection appearances of Jesus to his disciples. The first one took place on the evening of Easter. By then, only Mary Magdalene and one of the disciples, who had visited the tomb in the early morning, believed that Jesus had been raised from the dead, and that he is alive. Peter and all the others were yet to believe, even though they had heard from the others, and some had even come to the tomb. As they were huddled in a locked room in fear of the people, Jesus unexpectedly appeared and greeted them with, "Peace be with you", and identified himself by showing them his wounds. The disciples, naturally, were delighted to see him. Jesus then, gave them power and authority to preach and forgive sins, and the Spirit to accomplish the task. While the disciples might have been excited by Jesus' resurrection and appearance, Thomas who was absent when Jesus appeared to his disciples, refused to believe the encounter until he could see and touch the scars of Jesus.

A week later when the disciples were behind locked doors again, Jesus appeared once more to them, and this time Thomas was present. No reason is given for their gathering. However, I believe that by now all his disciples, except Thomas, had come to believe in the Lord's resurrection. So they gathered again perhaps in anticipation for another appearance from Jesus possibly to convince Thomas. They were not disappointed. Jesus did appear suddenly, and once again greeted them with his peace. He then, graciously invited Thomas to touch his wounds and believe. But Thomas realizing that Jesus had read his mind, confessed his faith with an act of adoration and expression of deep sorrow for his own unbelief, saying, "My Lord and my God". Jesus said to him, "You have come to believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."

These two appearances help us understand two things.

  • Jesus is ever present to us. Jesus is always present and close-by, especially when we experience moments of darkness, when in fear, and at trials, he keeps watch over us. Even if we do not call on him, Jesus will appear and give us hope and comfort us in all our afflictions as he did for his disciples. Yes. The Scriptures remind us that the Lord is, "both refuge and strength for us, a help always in times of trouble", Psalm (46:1). As a matter of fact if we ask the Lord to reveal Himself, He will meet us where we are and will do so in a way that leaves us with no doubt that it is He. The Lord says, "When you call on me, I will answer; I will be with you in your trouble and I will rescue you", Psalm (91). Yes. The Lord assures us that we have no need to fear anything or anyone if we put our trust in him, because in his great love, He will care for us.

  • Faith comes by hearing. Many may say that you have to see to believe. But it really is not so. For instance, some will say, "Show me a miracle and I'll believe." But even if they saw a genuine miracle, they would still doubt it or look for an explanation or continue to find reasons for their unbelief. People demanded more and more signs from Jesus so that they might believe in him, John (4:48, 6:30). Even though Jesus rebuked them for their unbelief he did demonstrate his power many times. But not all who witnessed Jesus' miracles believed in Him, John (2:23, 12:37). The Bible regards faith as a matter of hearing rather than seeing. Saint Paul in his letter to the Romans says that "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ", (10:17). He also urges all believers to "walk by faith, not by sight", 2 Corinthians (5:7). At the end of today's gospel the writer exhorts the hearers that "These are recorded so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name."

Today's gospel challenges each one of us in our faith. Let each of us answer with our heart how our faith is.

Many Christians still have weak faith. Not all Christians who read the eyewitness accounts of Jesus' miracles in the Gospels believe in him. Even very devout and religious people can be unbelieving. Such people may go through the outward rituals and prayers but may not willingly commit themselves to Jesus Christ especially when that commitment might cost them something. Many people often demand more and more signs and wonders-before they say that they too believe.

Let us remember the words of Jesus to Thomas, "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." This is one of Jesus' beatitudes addressed to all hearers of the Word of God. Yes. Jesus calls us to believe without seeing. Let us truly believe in Jesus' teachings, his promises, his love, his forgiveness, his resurrection and his presence, so that we may also obtain eternal life. True belief in Jesus will certainly lead to many miracles in our lives.

(P) Amen.

God Bless You!

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