Gospel Reflection – Sunday, April 7, 2024 – John 20:19-31 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Acts 4,32-35)

Reading from the Acts of the Apostles:

The multitude of believers were of one heart and one soul. No one considered the things they owned as their own, but everything between them was held in common. With great signs of power, the apostles gave testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And the faithful were esteemed by all.

Among them, no one was in need, because those who owned land or houses sold them, took the money, and placed it at the feet of the apostles. Then, it was distributed according to each person’s needs.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Second Reading (1Jo 5,1-6)

Reading of the First Letter of Saint John:

Dear friends: Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ was born of God, and whoever loves the one who gave birth to someone will also love the one who was born of him.

We can know that we love God’s children when we love God and keep his commandments. For this is loving God: observing his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that overcame the world: our faith.

Who is the winner of the world, if not he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is the one who came by water and blood: Jesus Christ. (It came not only with water, but with water and blood.) And the Spirit is the one who bears witness, because the Spirit is the Truth.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Announcement of the Gospel (John 20,19-31)

— PROCLAMATION of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John.

— Glory to you, Lord.

At dusk on that day, the first of the week, when the doors to the place where the disciples were were closed for fear of the Jews, Jesus entered and, standing in their midst, said: “Peace be with you.”

After these words, he showed them his hands and side. Then the disciples rejoiced to see the Lord. Again, Jesus said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

And after he had said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whoever you forgive the sins of, they will be forgiven; whoever you do not forgive them, they will be withheld from you.”

Thomas, called Didymus, who was one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples later told him: “We have seen the Lord!” But Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the prints of the nails in your hands, unless I put my finger in the prints of the nails and put my hand into your side, I will not believe.”

Eight days later, the disciples were gathered at home again, and Thomas was with them. When the doors were closed, Jesus entered, stood among them and said: “Peace be with you.”

Then he said to Thomas: “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Reach out your hand and place it on my side. And do not be unbelieving, but faithful.” Thomas replied: “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Did you believe because you saw me? Blessed are those who believed without having seen!”

Jesus performed many other signs before the disciples, which are not written in this book. But these were written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that, believing, you might have life in his name.

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

May the peace of the Lord be with you! Today, I would like to start our reflection with a question: how many times have we felt like the disciples locked in the upper room, afraid to face the world outside? How many times do we close ourselves off in our own worries and insecurities, failing to fully experience the joy and freedom that Christ offers us?

The biblical passage that was proclaimed to us from the book of the Acts of the Apostles shows us an inspiring example of life in community, where all the faithful were of one heart and one soul. They shared everything they had, so that there were no needy among them. This communion of goods reflected the deep union they had with Christ and with each other.

This message resonates in our hearts today. We live in a world marked by individuality, competition and rampant consumerism. But the Word of God invites us to live differently, to build a community where everyone feels loved and welcomed. We are called to share our gifts and resources, to extend a hand to those most in need and to truly be brothers to one another.

Reading the First Letter of John also brings us an important lesson. The apostle tells us that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God and overcomes the world. Faith in Christ gives us victory over all adversities and makes us participants in divine life. And how do we manifest this faith? Through love.

Love is the distinguishing mark of Christ’s disciples. Loving God above all things and your neighbor as yourself is the commandment that the Lord left us. It is through love that we become similar to God and witness his presence in the world. Love is the force that drives us to overcome barriers, to forgive, to reach out to those in need and to build a more just society.

However, we know that loving is not always easy. There are times when we are challenged to forgive those who have hurt us, to welcome those who are different from us and to care for those who are in vulnerable situations. Therefore, the passage from the Gospel of John brings us great comfort.

In it, we see the disciples locked in the upper room, full of fear. But Jesus appears among them and shows them his hands and his side, signs of the marks of the crucifixion. He says to them: “Peace be with you!” and blows upon them the Holy Spirit. Jesus offers them peace and sends them on a mission to forgive sins.

This peace that Jesus offers us is much deeper than the absence of external conflicts. It is an inner peace that comes from encountering the Resurrected One, from recognizing his unconditional love, from the certainty that He is present in our lives, even in the most difficult moments.

Just like Thomas, who initially doubted Jesus’ resurrection, we often doubt it too. We doubt that God can forgive us, that He can love us despite our weaknesses. But Jesus tells us: “Do not be unbelieving, but faithful!”

Dear brothers and sisters, the central message of these biblical passages is that we are called to live in communion, to manifest our faith through love and to experience the peace that only Christ can give us. But how can we apply these principles to our everyday lives?

Allow me to share a story that illustrates these principles. There was a small Christian community in a city, and its members decided to come together to help those most in need. Each person contributed what they could: some donated food, others offered their time to visit the sick, others were willing to teach children. They not only shared their material resources, but also cultivated a loving and welcoming environment where everyone felt valued and cared for.

One day, a young man named Lucas joined this community. He was experiencing financial and emotional difficulties, and was on the verge of hopelessness. But upon entering that community, he was welcomed with open arms. People welcomed him warmly, shared their life stories and offered practical help.

Luke experienced God’s love through those brothers and sisters. He realized that he was not alone in his struggle and that there was a greater force that supported him. Over time, he also began to contribute his gifts and talents, teaching music to children in the community.

This story shows us that the experience of faith goes beyond words and good intentions. We need to act, put into practice what we believe. It is through our concrete actions of love and service that we witness to the transforming power of the Gospel.

Dear brothers and sisters, I invite each of you to reflect on how we can live these principles in our daily lives. Maybe it’s donating part of our time to help a charity, visiting a sick person, or simply being more attentive to the needs of those around us.

Remember that small acts of kindness can have a significant impact on someone’s life. A smile, a word of encouragement, a gesture of forgiveness, all of this can make a difference in a person’s life. And when we come together as a community, we multiply the power of love and solidarity.

How about making a personal commitment to practice one concrete action of love every day? It could be something simple, like sending a message of support to someone who is going through a difficult time, or helping a neighbor with a chore. Small acts of love can brighten the world around us.

And when we face moments of doubt and uncertainty, let us remember Jesus’ words to Thomas: “Do not be unbelieving, but faithful!” Let us have faith in the constant presence of Christ in our lives, even when we do not see Him. He is by our side, offering us His peace and His grace to overcome any obstacle.

May the communion of hearts and souls, the love manifested in our actions and the peace of Christ be a reality in our lives and in our community. May we be living witnesses of God’s love, radiating hope and transforming the world around us.

May the Holy Spirit guide and strengthen us on our journey of faith. May He grant us the courage and generosity to live as true disciples of Christ. And may the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ always be with us, today and always.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.