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Second Sunday of Easter (C)


"Eight days later, Jesus came."



The Word This Week

This week the Gospel is chosen because it relates “what happened today” – eight days after Easter, Jesus comes again to his disciples. The story of Thomas’s doubt and faith leads us to think about our doubts and faith – but always in the context of being part of the family of the Church. Remember last week, and the baptisms you may have witnessed, or the renewal of your own baptismal promises: “this is the faith of the Church, the faith in which we are baptised.”


Notes for Readers

First Reading: Acts 5:12-16

Throughout Easter we read the Acts of the Apostles on both Sundays and weekdays. The earlier passages of Acts describe events in Jerusalem only a few weeks after the death and resurrection of Jesus – already we see the “Church” getting on with the business of fulfilling the mission Jesus gave. Today is a perfect example: it presents a snap-shot picture of the Church in its earliest days.

This is a simple narrative, but be careful not to miss some key phrases: the first two words, “The faithful…” are necessary to understand what follows – make sure everyone has settled before you begin. A tone of amazement would work well for the sentence beginning “So many signs and wonders…” Make sure that the last phrase, “…and all of them were cured,” is delivered with clarity and decisiveness.

 Second Reading: Apocalypse 1:9-13.17-19
“Apocalypse” or “Revelations” is not the easiest book in the Bible! We read it every Sunday of Easter this year, starting today. Written by Saint John, it is a work of visions and parables, all of which have message and meaning. Before we get to that, however, we have a very straightforward passage today (if visions can ever be called straightforward!) which resounds with the Easter themes of death and resurrection which will still be close to us from last weekend. This is autobiographical – in other words John is telling his own story. You have to think about the difference this makes in how you read – a first-person narrative is always more forceful and impassioned. Take your time. This is a reading which demands pauses to give the congregation “time to think” about what is being read. Also be very aware of the pictures that John is painting – there are some very powerful images in this reading. However you read the first part, save some special emphasis for the last paragraph – the meeting with Jesus. This leads us to the Gospel, and also speaks directly to all the congregation gathered in front of you today – emphasise the words “I was dead (pause) and now I am to live for ever and ever…”
Preserving the sense of Easter for the fifty days of the Easter Season can be challenging. This year there is a strong “theme” which flows from the scriptures – the Church, born in the death and resurrection of Christ. If we consider this as our Easter theme, then we will find our journey smoothed all the way to Pentecost!



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