Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Acts 10:34,37-43; Psalm 118:1-2,16-17,22-23; Colossians 3:1-4; John 20:1-9)
Allowing the Resurrection of Jesus to Strengthen Our Faith
They did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. (John 20:9)
What a humble statement! Here is John, the beloved apostle, admitting that he hadn’t yet grasped the truth that Jesus would rise from the dead. And not only John but Peter and the other apostles doubted that possibility. Even Mary Magdalene, who saw the empty tomb, supposed that someone had stolen Jesus’ body (John 20:2).
Now, Jesus had told his apostles that this would happen (Matthew 16:21). They saw him raise other people from death (Luke 7:11-17; John 11:38-44). They believed in Jesus. They trusted him. They even confessed him as the Son of God. But as you might imagine, the idea of a resurrection is not the easiest thing to believe!
All that changed, however, when they found themselves face-to-face with the risen Lord. Actually seeing Jesus alive convinced them. It filled them with faith and gave them the boldness they needed to build the church.
So here we are celebrating Easter two thousand years later. Unlike the apostles, most of us have not seen Jesus. We have to trust in him based on the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, the proclamation of the church, and the teachings that we find in Scripture. But we do have one thing that the apostles didn’t have: the witness of their lives! We have the stories of how fully they devoted themselves to Jesus. We have the accounts of their sacrifices for the church, the persecutions they endured, and even the martyrdom that many of them suffered. Would they really go through all of this just to keep a “myth” alive? Not likely!
Today, as we celebrate Easter, let’s listen to the witness of the apostles. They met Jesus, and they found new boldness and courage to believe. Surely, if it happened for them, it can happen for us!
“All praise to you, Lord Jesus, for your resurrection! Help me to believe in you more each day.”
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- Easter is the feast of feasts, the greatest joy and gladness of all Christians. It has been said that Christians should be an “alleluia people”! Could you be called an alleluia person? Why or why not?
- In the first reading, we hear Peter witnessing to Christ’s passion and resurrection. Why do you believe it is difficult for many Catholics to witness to others about Jesus? In what ways do you find it difficult? Share some times when you have shared with someone about Jesus? What was the result?
- In the Responsorial Psalm, our response is “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.” What is it about your faith in Christ that causes you to “rejoice and be glad”?
- In the second reading from Colossians, we hear this startling proclamation, “you were raised with Christ” (Colossians 3:1). What do you think these words mean? What about the following words, “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory” (3:3-4)? How can you allow the truth of these words to impact how you live out your day, especially when faced with temptations or difficult circumstances?
- In the Gospel we read that the disciples saw the empty tomb and believed. What have you “seen” during the Lenten season and Holy Week that has deepened your faith in Jesus? What additional steps can you take to ensure that the renewal in your life that has occurred during Lent and Holy Week can become permanent and not fade away after a few weeks?
- The meditation ends with these words: “as we celebrate Easter, let’s listen to the witness of the apostles. They met Jesus, and they found new boldness and courage to believe. Surely, if it happened for them, it can happen for us!” As you prepare to celebrate Easter and the grace-filled Easter season, what steps can you take to allow the resurrection of Jesus to give you “new boldness and courage to believe,” and to share this good news with others.
- Take some time now to pray and thank the Lord for his resurrection and ask him for the grace to grow in faith and trust in him. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.