"Do not be unbelieving, but believe."

This Sunday we hear that the apostles, imprisoned and bound by fear, have locked themselves into the upper room, and that "Jesus came and stood before them...Then he breathed on them and said: 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive men's sins, they are forgiven them; if you hold them bound, they are held bound.' "

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions

Second Sunday of Easter, April 27, 2014 (2EasterA)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Mass Readings  
Podcast of the Readings 
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios 
Prayer of the Hours
BQ: What is Faith?

Questions on Sunday's Readings for use by discussion groups,
prayer groups, or for individual prayer.

First Reading

Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 2, Verses 42-47

1. How could the early Christians “sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s needs”? Could you go this far with the “selling and dividing”?

2. Can you describe this early Christian community in a short sentence? Are there other groups that fit this description? How is your faith strengthened by the faith of others? Why did they “eat their meals with exultation”?

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

1.  The Psalm says God's love is everlasting and that His mercy endures forever.   Do you feel that you have received God's mercy even though you may not have been worthy?   What changes in your life have taken place as you have received God's love?

2)  Have you ever felt as though you were 'hard pressed and falling' as the Psalm says?   Can you recall a time in your life when God helped you to regain your strength and courage?   Did you then feel like making a 'joyful shout of victory?'

Second Reading
First Letter of St. Peter, Chapter 1, Verses 3-9

1. “You may have to suffer through various trials.” Are troubles beneficial? Does “letting go” free you in any way? What do you call it when you believe even though you can’t see?

2 Hans Urs von Balthasar says this: “We are not the ones who grasp Christ and anchor ourselves to him, rather, Christ has caught up with us and grasped us.” Which “grasping” makes you feel more secure? How does Balthasar’s sentences apply to this particular reading?

According to John, Chapter 20, Verses 19-31

1. No doors can be locked tight enough to keep Christ out. Explain. Do you have “locked doors”? If sin is what separates God from the world and people from one another, what do you do about your own sins? Is peace connected with forgiveness of sins?

2. “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Which do you think is stronger, belief or seeing? Do you need help believing, as Thomas did? What reason does John give us for his telling us this story?

Online Sunday Bible Study Group
Please share your reflections on the above Sunday Readings. May we be blessed by God's words as reflected in your thoughts and experience-sharing.

1 comment:

  1. Barry Lamont10:47 AM

    Once again we visit this powerful psalm
    of praise and thanksgiving.
    This time the verses stress
    the enduring love that God has for us –
    so much so that despite the part
    we played in crucifying His son,
    God went ahead and
    carried out his plan to save us.
    “God’s love (mercy) endures forever.”

    “I was hard pressed and falling,
    but the Lord came to my help.
    The Lord, my strength and might,
    came to me as savior.”
    This could be about those who were sick
    and were carried into the streets
    to be healed by Peter and the apostles
    in the early days of the church.
    Or it could be about us,
    spiritually sick and weakened by sin.
    Are we any different,
    any less desperate or in need
    of the Lord's healing power
    and presence in our lives?
    Where else would we turn
    for help or salvation?
    Fortunately the Lord
    comes to us as savior, as our psalmist says.

    The Lord is our strength.
    He is present to us,
    just as He was in those early days of the church,
    described in our 1st reading and in the Gospel.
    We may not have the awesome experience
    of physically putting our hand
    in the Lord’s side and our fingers
    into the nail marks on His hand,
    but He is with us.

    And the Lord is present to us
    when we are frightened as He was present
    to those frightened disciples in the upper room.
    Who would have been more hard pressed, falling,
    than they were before Jesus appeared to them
    and blessed them and extended His peace to them?
    That some source of strength and might
    the psalmist speaks of is available to us –
    all we have to do is believe
    and open our hearts to receive his saving grace.

    As Peter tells us in the 2nd reading,
    Christ’s resurrection gives us a living hope
    and a powerful faith.
    This is cause for rejoicing:
    “By the Lord has this been done;
    it is wonderful in our eyes.”
    This is the day the Lord has made.
    Along with the disciples and the early church,
    “Let us rejoice and be glad.”