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  Word To Life


Sunday Scripture Readings, April 15, 2012

By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service

April 15, Second Sunday of Easter

Cycle B Readings:

1) Acts 4:32-35

Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24

2) 1 John 5:1-6

Gospel: John 20:19-31

When I was 19 and still living with my parents, my favorite cousin came to live with us. He was a couple of years older than me and, as a child, he was somewhat of an idol to me. He always seemed so cool and on top of things and generally the kind of guy I wanted to be.

A few years earlier my family had moved from Michigan to Texas, and I had lost touch with this favorite cousin, so I was ecstatic at the idea of sharing a room with him. Pretty quickly, I figured out that in our years apart we had each changed and really did not have that many things in common. He was interested in going out to clubs and chasing women; I was interested in going to church and young adult Bible study. We had a lot of conflicts about this, but I became determined to change his heart.

One night we were in our bunk beds, and I was trying my best to explain to him why I loved God and why he, too, should love God. He got a bit frustrated and said, "The only way I will believe in God is if he comes down here and shakes my hand." I can remember praying very hard that night that God would do just that.

My cousin's doubts about God were not that different from St. Thomas' in this Sunday's Gospel. Thomas wanted tangible proof that Jesus really had risen from the dead. That desire for a physical experience of Jesus as a requirement for belief is very common. As the saying goes, "Seeing is believing."

Few of us have ever had God come down and shake our hand, or have we? Each time we receive the Eucharist, we touch God, and each time we encounter another human being, we encounter his image. Still, for these moments to be encounters with the living God takes some faith. This is why Jesus says, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."

We may never have a "doubting Thomas" kind of moment, but in some ways not seeing and still believing has a deeper impact.

QUESTIONS:

What are some encounters you have had with Jesus that have affected your belief? Have you ever doubted the existence of God? What was that experience like?

SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:

"Jesus said to him, 'Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed'" (John 20:29).

END



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