我存证道》Second Sunday of Easter

					
The institution of the Catholic Church
Acts 5:12-16; Rev. 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19; Jn. 20:19-31

Welcome my brothers and sisters in Christ to today's celebration of the Holy Mass. I trust that during the past week, beginning with Easter Sunday, you have all had many enjoyable moments for the glory of God.

Last Sunday, we commemorated the glorious Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This Sunday, we are called to remember what happened after Jesus resurrected.

During the first part of today's Gospel Reading, we heard that the apparition of Jesus to His disciples took place on the first day of the week, that being a Sunday. The apparition took place on the evening of the same day that Jesus had resurrected. It is important to notice on which day of the week that these events were instituted by the Lord Jesus in order to understand how, in the early days of the Church, the Sabbath was replaced with Sunday. 

On that evening, living in fear of the authorities, the disciples had gathered together in a house and they had locked the doors. Suddenly, Jesus stood among them. According to the Gospel of Luke, at first, the disciples were startled and terrified. They thought that they were seeing a ghost. [Lk. 24:37]

In view of the fact that Jesus entered the house while the doors were locked, we are reminded of the words of St. Paul in the First Letter to the Corinthians. "It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body." [1 Cor. 15:44] Through this event, we come to the understanding that a spiritual body is not limited to the worldly laws of nature. The spiritual body has the ability to walk through doors and walls or appear and disappear at will. 

Then Jesus said, "Peace be with you." And He showed His hands and His side to His disciples. This Bible passage is very important. It is explicit proof from the Gospel of John that Jesus was truly nailed to the cross. He was not tied to the cross as was often the custom in those days.

When the reality had finally set in and the disciples realized that it was truly Jesus who was before them, they rejoiced. Being counted among the many witnesses of the glorious Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, all their fear disappeared.

Then Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." [Jn. 20:21] In these words, the Lord officially commissioned the Church through His disciples to perpetual the work of Divine salvation that is accomplished in Christ. Through this commission, we are reminded of the words that Jesus had spoken earlier during His ministry on earth. "As you (Father) have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world." [Jn. 17:18] "I sent you to reap that for which you did not labour. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour." [Jn. 4:38] "Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me." [Jn. 13:20]

Having said this, Jesus breathed on the disciples 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." [Jn. 20:22-3] In these words is found the fulfillment of the promised Advocate, the sending of the Holy Spirit. [Jn. 3:8, 7:39, 15:26, 16:7] From these same words is made known that the Sacrament of Confession was instituted on earth by Jesus Christ Himself. [Mt. 16:19, 18:18; Lk. 24:47] It should also be mentioned that the power over sin is also exercised in the Sacrament of Baptism and in the preaching of the redemptive work.

Up until now, the Holy Bible reveals to us three things that happened on Easter Day. First, Jesus resurrected early on Easter Sunday. [Jn. 20:1, 9] Secondly, He had not yet ascended to the Father. [Jn. 20:17] Thirdly, during the evening, He gave the Holy Spirit to the world. [Jn. 20:22]

Proceeding to John 20:24-5, we learn that Thomas was absent during the first apparition of Jesus to the disciples. And he did not believe the other apostles when they told him that they had seen the Lord. The only way he would believe is by touching the wounds of Jesus with his own finger.

A week later, again on a Sunday, while the disciples were gathered behind locked doors with Thomas, the Lord Jesus appeared again and said, "Peace be with you." [Jn. 20:26] By the emphasis that this happened on a Sunday, it becomes clear that in John's time, the first day of the week was the day on which the early Church Christians assembled to celebrate the liturgy.

Next, we are taken to the moment when Jesus 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." [Jn. 20:27] In response to these words, Thomas answered, "My Lord and my God!" [Jn. 20:28] Seeing was sufficient. Thomas believed because He saw Jesus. [Jn. 20:29]

When Thomas answered, "My Lord and my God!", he was affirming the Divine nature of the Lord Jesus. For while the word "Lord" implied Jesus as "Master" and "Teacher," the word "God" implied Yahweh, the God of the Jewish nation. In the person of Jesus, Thomas perceived the human and Divine natures.

Today's Reading from the Gospel of John concludes by telling us that Jesus said, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe." [Jn. 20:29] These powerful words of Jesus were not meant just for the little group that was present in the house. It was a blessing that was intended to surpass the days of the first disciples. It was addressed to all Christians of all time, that including the faithful of today.

All what has been said until now has taken place on the first day of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. But the words that we heard during the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, those events took place during the first weeks of the institution of the Church of Jesus on earth.

As you recall, towards the end of His ministry, Jesus promised to Peter that he would give him the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. [Mt. 16:18-9] Shortly after the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven, Peter was the one to address the crowd, this affirming his appointment as the Vicar of Christ on earth. [Acts 2:14]

While many signs and wonders were done among the people through all the apostles, the Holy Bible speaks of one sign that was unique to Peter, such affirming his leadership as the first Pope. When Peter walked among the sick, many were healed when his shadow fell upon them. Through Peter, the power of Jesus continued to manifest itself after His glorious Resurrection. Resulting from the many wonders that took place, a great number of men and women joined the Church.

In those days, the Catholic Church counted tens of thousands of members among themselves. Today, the Catholic Church counts over one billion members worldwide. Such is the work of the Holy Spirit.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, this week, as we reflect upon today's readings, let us ponder upon our role in the Church of Jesus. What are we as individuals doing to promote the growth of the Church of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit? Pondering upon this, let us all make a resolution as to how we will promote the Church during the coming year. Some may choose to evangelize to their children. Others may wish to guide new converts by becoming involved in the RCIA. A few may choose to set up an internet website to promote the teachings of the Catholic Church. All of these actions are worthy of God's grace for the benefit of all. May the grace of God be with each and everyone of you as you choose your calling and go forward with the Spirit of Christ.

创建时间:2019-4-1 0:00:00    发布人:cczj