Worship At Home, Second Sunday of Easter
Welcome to Worship at Home with Corpus Christi Church
The Second Sunday of Easter
Whatever your present status in the Catholic Church, whatever your
current family or marital situation, whatever your past or present
religious affiliation, whatever your personal history, age, background,
race or color, sexual orientation, whatever your self-esteem…you are
invited, welcomed, accepted, loved and respected by the
Catholic Community of Corpus Christi.
Let us know your needs, your hopes, your gifts.
There is a place for you here.
The Tomb Is Empty
Let us begin, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Now, here in this place
we sing our praise and thanks to you
for the wonder and beauty of this day.
May our prayer glorify your holy name
And our work this day be an offering to you.
We ask this through Christ Jesus, our Lord.
The First Reading
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles
They devoted themselves
to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life,
to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.
Awe came upon everyone,
and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
All who believed were together and had all things in common;
they would sell their property and possessions
and divide them among all according to each one’s need.
Every day they devoted themselves
to meeting together in the temple area
and to breaking bread in their homes.
They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart,
praising God and enjoying favor with all the people.
And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
The word of the Lord
Thanks Be To God
This Is The Day:
The Second Reading
A reading from the first Letter of Saint Peter
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading,
kept in heaven for you
who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith,
to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.
In this you rejoice, although now for a little while
you may have to suffer through various trials,
so that the genuineness of your faith,
more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire,
may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Although you have not seen him you love him;
even though you do not see him now yet believe in him,
you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,
as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
The word of the Lord
Thanks Be To God
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John
On the evening of that 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 it 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.
The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ
Fr. John Parkos
DOUBT – A Surprise Blessing (?)
The Cursillo retreat movement has an operational motto:
“Make a friend. Be a friend. Bring a friend to Jesus?”
Whenever you read the Bible, pay attention to details.
Very little, if any, is there by accident.
And at the price of papyrus,
the authors of the Bible couldn’t afford to waste any paper.
– – – – –
Scattered throughout this Easter Season
in several places in the Bible readings of this Season
is the little statement, “And they doubted.”
And today in the gospel passage, the author even recorded
that one of the apostles had the nickname “The Doubter!”
Even at the end of this Easter Season, on the Solemnity of the Ascension,
it is recorded that the disciples …“worshipped Jesus and they doubted.”
When the disciples see Jesus, they waver even as they worship him.
That their familiar teacher has divine status strains their belief.
They still have only a “little faith,” only the tepid trust
that allowed fear to overwhelm them
during the storm on the Sea of Galilee,
and that could not keep Peter’s eyes on Jesus
as the wind raised waves beneath his feet.
In the Gospels, Jesus does not call / choose disciples
because they have absolute faith in him
or their comprehension of his identity is flawless.
He invites people whose faith wavers occasionally
but whose knowledge of him grows
as they spend time with him, and learn more about him,
and learn more from his teaching and his lifestyle.
The Greek word for disciple, “learner,” conveys their status.
Even though the eleven doubt when they see Jesus,
they also worship him.
And he sends them forth to make disciples of all nations,
even though they do not have all the answers,
even to their own questions,
as well as the questions of the folks they encounter
on their missionary journeys.
By the power of the Holy Spirit,
the believers are faithful to four essential characteristics of the church described in today’s reading
(the Acts of the Apostles).
Fidelity to the first element, the teaching of the apostles,
involves both the reception of the apostles’
witnessing to the Jesus they know personally,
and passing on what has been received / learned.
Peter gives the first apostolic teaching on Pentecost.
In his address, he proclaims the death and Resurrection of Jesus,
a proclamation that is reiterated
in all the speeches in the Acts of the Apostles.
Besides teaching through the Word,
the apostles also teach through signs and wonders (just as Jesus did),
and by witnessing to Jesus through their whole way of life.
Remaining faithful to the teaching of the apostles
means that all believers also teach
by announcing the good news in speech and deed.
The next three elements,
the communal life, the breaking of the bread, and the prayers,
are closely linked to the teaching of the apostles.
Communal life (koinonia) entails communion with God
and with one another.
One way of expressing this communion is to hold all things in common,
and dividing possessions according to need.
Another way of expressing communion
is by participating in the breaking of the bread
(which is, the evangelist’s way of referring to the Eucharist).
As Jews who believed in Jesus,
the believers in Jerusalem continue to meet in the temple area,
and also to celebrate the Lord’s Supper in their homes.
Prayer, the fourth essential characteristic,
further expresses communion with God and God’s people.
Praise of God in both temple and home,
and prayers of the community members
in threatening or fearful circumstances (e.g., 4:29; 12:12)
reinforce the common experience at the breaking of bread.
Peter (1 Peter 1:3-9) reminds his audience that
although you do not see him, you love him, believe in him, and rejoice.
By stating as a fact that they love, believe and rejoice,
Peter is actually encouraging them to live in this way.
Their love, faith, and joy in Christ
express a deep and continuing relationship with him
and give God praise, honor, and glory.
– – – – –
So, you see that these four elements and lifestyle choices
feed back and forth into one another.
Their wavering faith is reinforced by the experiences of their lifestyle,
which in turn strengthens their faith,
which in turn reinforces the activity of their mission,
which in turn reinforces / strengthens their faith,
which in turn strengthens the urgency of their mission,
and on and on and on and on.
Does this echo your own experiences across the years of your lifetime?
The disciples of the first century are just like us.
And we are just like them.
Which says this is how the human experience plays out.
Which is how faith grows in humans.
So, the doubt in me / us is typical, not unusual.
Doubt does not exist in a vacuum. Nor does faith.
Doubt did not let those first disciples off the hook.
Nor does doubt disqualify us
from an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus the Christ,
even across all these centuries.
It’s nice to be normal, isn’t it?
The heart of interacting with Jesus and with one another
is the relationship. The relationship is the key to everything!
Dogmas are important. So are rituals.
But nearly as important as our friendships.
It is not “either /or;” it is “both / and.”
And faith is always a work in progress.
The largeness of the mystery is not an obstacle
to either the relationships (with Jesus and with one another)
nor the mission.
And there are more mysteries in life
than I will ever be able to wrap my pea brain around!
Even the strictly human encounters of
love, friendship, hate, surrender (not so much to an enemy as to a lover),
forgiveness, honor, and on and on and on;
defy my ability to adequately put words on them.
If I wait to experience them until I can explain them,
life would be an extremely blah business.
Even grappling with the dimensions of Mother Nature and her universe
are beyond my talents.
And there is an ancient piece of truth that comes into play here:
We can amass more wisdom and understanding
from living with the questions, than by having all the answers.
And one quote from Pope Francis that I treasure is
that the work of the missionary (all of us) is to share and spread joy,
not have all the answers and impose more rules.
This brings us back to the MO (mode of operation)
of the Cursillo retreat movement:
“Make a friend. Be a friend. Bring a friend to Jesus.”
Now that is humanly do-able … and a lot more fun and engaging, too!
This Sunday is the second Sunday in Easter. It is one week after the good news from Mary, the disciples were hiding again behind locked doors. Just days before they had been on top of the world. Jesus was enormously popular with the people and the disciples, by association, were caught up in that affection. Things changed quickly, the crowd turned, and they had gone from riding the crest of a wave to being afraid they that they would be killed next. They were in the same place as they were Easter night, in the same room behind the same locked doors. Into this fear and uncertainty steps Jesus who says, “Peace be with you.” In the midst of turmoil and anxiety to the same disciples who deserted and denied him, Jesus brings peace and calm. This appearance to them is the sign that his love is greater than their failure. The disciples are sent out to others as people who know their own failure and know the joy of forgiveness. This is the joy they are commissioned to spread. Even Thomas is not excluded; Jesus meets him in his need, here are my hands, look at my side. It was their continuing relationship with Thomas “the Doubter” which gave them the opportunity to be present for the appearance of the Risen Lord in their midst. Perhaps there is a lesson for the Church to not too quickly raise the barriers excluding those struggling with belief. Pope Francis says we can join Thomas in this faith, by touching the wounds found in the body of someone wounded by hunger, humiliation, illness, enslavement in a myriad of ways. We have to touch those wounds: feeding, esteeming, visiting, and breaking chains. We may not find it any easier to live by faith than Thomas did, however, when we do live by faith, we discover tangible proof. This proof can be seen in the way the community reaches out in care and support of others. Jesus extends his wounded hands to us as he did to Thomas, and the community is invited to touch his wounds as we touch the wounds of our world. Those who were not eye witnesses of the actual events are called, through the teaching of others, to witness to the power of the resurrection. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
Sending is what God likes to do; Jesus is sent, the Holy Spirit is sent, the disciples are sent, and we are sent. This Gospel speaks to us where we are, in all stages of our lives. This reminds us that faith is not a one-time simple choice, but a life full of daily choices to believe and have faith. We stumble, we doubt, we may even lose courage and try to just go with the flow. Jesus will wait patiently for us to find our way back to him. Our Holy Week may have looked very different this year including sheltering in place, but one week after Easter, what has Christ’s resurrection done for us? What has changed in our lives? Are we renewed? Do we see and engage in the world in new ways? Resurrection takes time and is something we grow into, it’s a process. It’s a way of being and a life to be lived. By the grace of God we evolve into resurrected people through our relationships and the circumstances of our lives. God wastes nothing. How are we spending this time in quarantine? Are we in deep loneliness, sorrow, and loss? That is the room Christ will enter. Are we in fear, confusion, or darkness? That is the room Christ will enter. Are we in illness, overwhelmed, and disappointed? That is the room Christ will enter. Are we in joy, gratitude and celebration? That is the room Christ will enter. Wherever we are in our life, that is our starting point. It is just a starting point; don’t judge it as good or bad, right or wrong, it is just where we are and it is the place Christ will meet us. Christ steps into the midst of our house, through the locked doors, and breathes peace and life into us. He breathes peace and hope into us. He breathes peace and courage into us. He breathes peace and strength into us. And that breath of peace is the key that will unlock our door. Living a life of resurrection is the lens through which we see the world, each other, and ourselves. Resurrection does not undo our past, fix our problems, or change the circumstances of our lives. It changes us, offers a way through our problems, and creates a future of hope. Resurrected people know that faith and life are messy. As we move forward in this world, what has changed for us? What are we being called to? What have we learned about how we function as a society? What have we learned about those experiencing homelessness? What have learned baout food insecurity? What have we learned about medical care? What have we learned divides us and what brings unity? What have we learned about caring for our neighbor? What have we learned about our education system? What have we learned about how much is enough to make sure all have some? What have we learned about our leaders and how policies are formed and decisions are made? What have we learned about who is deemed essential and who is not, and who decides this? What have we learned about the difficulty of some people’s work that we may have taken for granted? What have we learned about those who’s first instinct is to jump in and help, sometimes putting themselves in harms way? What have we learned about human dignity? What have we learned about a “living wage?” What have learned about nature’s ability to heal the earth when pollution and human movement is decreased? What have we learned about the importance of human contact? What have we learned about our own faith and what feeds it? What have we learned about our relationships? What have we learned about the importance of supporting small businesses? What have we learned about global solidarity? What have we learned about ourselves from our own reactions? There is a lot there, and as people sent out to spread joy, we make decisions each day to lift up those around us. Let us share what we have learned.
We Walk By Faith
Profession of Faith
I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
Prayers of the Faithful
Christ is risen and present among us. Let us come together as a community in prayer and ask for what we need to live as joyful disciples.
In thanksgiving for the leadership of Pope Francis and Archbishop Hebda:
May the Holy Spirit open new ways to deepen our faith and help us be a witness to others of the risen Christ…
We pray to the Lord,
For all nations of the world:
May they put aside division and work together to advance the peaceful care of all their citizens …
We pray to the Lord,
For all who are helping serve and peacefully lifting up all around them for the benefit of the common good during this pandemic…
We pray to the Lord,
For respect and compassion for all who seek, doubt, question or struggle to believe in Christ:
May they encounter the risen Christ in their communities…
We pray to the Lord,
For the prayers and worries we hold in the silence of our hearts, especially those too painful to speak…
We pray to the Lord,
We remember those who have died…
Especially our sisters and brothers throughout the world who have lost their lives because of their beliefs…
May they rejoice with the risen Christ at the banquet of the Lord…
We pray to the Lord,
Merciful God, you call us to be witnesses to the Gospel despite our fear, doubt or limitations. We remember that your power flows through inadequate people. Help us to be signs of your love, mercy and peace to all who enter our lives.
We look to you for peace.
Give us strength to face life with hope and courage,
that even from its discord and conflicts we may draw blessings.
We praise you for your faithfulness and love,
and we thank you for your guidance and the hope you offer.
Stir in us a fire of compassion that we may serve as peacemakers in all we say and do.
May we share with the world the source of our hope and joy.
We pray in the words Jesus taught us.
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.
Final Sending Thoughts from Father Parkos
Speaking of joy and fun …
(This is what we were doing earlier in playing with the qualities of relationships.),
here are some more …
Signs of a Spiritual Awakening
A tendency to think & act spontaneously,
rather than on fear based on past experience.
An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
A loss of interest in judging people.
A loss of interest in judging self.
A loss of interest in conflict.
A loss of ability to worry (this is a serious symptom).
Frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
Frequent attacks of smiling.
An increased tendency to let things happen
rather than make them happen.
An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others
as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
Christ Is Risen! Shout Hosanna!: