Lectio Divina: 2021-04-09

Our Lectio group reflected on the readings for the second Sunday after Easter in Year B.

Jn 20:19-31 “Eight days later, Jesus came.”

One

There is so much in this gospel reading today. What is God saying to me?

The disciples were hiding away in a locked room and I would imagine they were experiencing a range of emotions – bewilderment, exhaustion, frightened, guilty and ashamed of their behaviour. I think about all the times I too have locked myself away, locked my heart, when experiencing many of the same emotions. The times when I feel overwhelmed, scared, ashamed, guilty. Jesus didn’t knock on the door but he stood there among them and said “Peace be with you” No rebuke or chastisement but “peace”. He calmed their fears as he will calm mine. I may lock the door of my heart but still he comes in and offers me the peace that passes all understanding.

All the disciples except Thomas had seen Jesus and they were overjoyed. Thomas wasn’t there and he was sceptical, disbelieving and wanted to see for himself. How would I have responded? Would I have believed straight away or would I have wanted to see for myself?

There are times when I doubt like Thomas, when I question my faith and wonder but it is in the questioning with an open mind and heart that there is spiritual growth and I can truly come to say “My Lord and my God”

Two

“Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

It must have been a great shock to the disciples when Jesus appeared and I understand that they would have needed some convincing that it was really Him, Thomas even more so.

Not even a locked door and seeing Jesus in the flesh were enough, without seeing and feeling His wounds. He had to have proof of the miracle.

I am so blessed that I do believe but also not without proof. I may not see Jesus in the flesh….or do I? I meet Jesus every day in everyone I meet although He may not always be obvious to me. I may have to look deeply to see him. I see Jesus in every miracle that happens and I have witnessed many miracles in my life. I am so grateful for these reassurances that He is with me and for the fact that, every day, I can witness the greatest miracle of transubstantiation in the Consecration during Holy Mass. Deo gratias.

God bless you all. I hold all of you and your families and friends in my prayers and in my heart. xx

Three

“ Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe “

Thomas was an ordinary person having fears and doubts.

Perhaps I am like Thomas? would I have doubted like him ?

Are the doors of my heart locked?

Do I expect Jesus to show up and visit me?

Am I afraid if I really let Jesus in my world will be turned upside down?

Lectio always throws up more questions – than I find answers. My mind goes off in so many different directions.

Lord I believe, please help my unbelief.

Lord you know my innermost thoughts, you know what’s in my heart.

Help me to now listen for your voice and know your presence in my life.

Four

Jesus offers his peace to his disciples twice in this passage. When I follow the teachings of Jesus his peace can flow into my heart. When he has poured grace into my soul he has allowed me to experience a peace that the world cannot give. I have to learn to accept this wonderful gift and just thank him for being such a loving saviour. I attended two very different funerals yesterday. I asked Our Lord to give me strength and a very real peace came over me. I couldn’t explain it but it was so real. It made me realise that God is always present in our lives whatever the situation or circumstances.

Five

“Peace be with you!…who sins you forgive…”

This is so wonderful! Jesus’ first greeting to this large group of disciples: “Peace!”

It seems to me this is the greatest gift he can give them. It seems it is the total gift of himself; what the Father has given him he is passing on.

“Shalom!”. The gift of total health of mind, body, spirit, which can only come through Jesus. Is this the gift of total oneness in the Spirit of Jesus?It is seeming to me to come with a great “Whoosh!!” John’s tongues of fire?

Jesus goes on …”Receive the Holy Spirit…”. Yes. He is imparting it now.

There follows the enigmatic: Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven…” This seems very bound up with the gift of the Spirit, the gift of unity with Jesus.

Our giving and receiving of forgiveness in relation to God and our neighbour is fundamental to our continuing to live in Christ’s Spirit. It keeps open the channel of God’s love for ourselves and others.

“Lord, I thank you for the unfathomable gift of yourself won for us by your Passion, Death and Resurrection. Help me never again to be a blockage in the channels of your love. Let me never for an instant withhold forgiveness. Please show me anywhere in my life I have done this and forgive me. Allow me until the moment I die to be an instrument in keeping flowing your love, life, grace throughout your mystical Body.”

Continuing Easter blessings to you and your loved ones, especially (named in my heart) those who are in a time of trial and may be seriously in need of peace right now. Love to all.

Six

Hello everyone and thank you so much for taking me on board.

After reading the gospel for 2 Easter B the word that appeal to me the most is peace. Jesus said to the apostles peace be with you twice. I believe by saying that Jesus cleansed the apostle with all possible bad feelings they had before Jesus came to them. Peace is an essential tool for the union and for the faith besides it keeps the harmony amongst us.

Seven

My Lord and my God

Thomas needed proof that the other disciples had seen Jesus. I remember when I needed proof; I questioned everything and challenged God constantly until one day He took me completely by surprise and revealed Himself to me in a way that I couldn’t doubt him. I no longer need proof in the same way but I have found that as my relationship with God grows we question and challenge each other. Like Thomas my belief has grown from experiencing a risen Christ. There is so much I don’t understand and much that I never will but He has a way of guiding me to a place of greater understanding, acceptance and change. My Christian journey has had a lot of twists and turns and some days I am walking in God’s will and other days I find I am trying to do things my way. Somehow He finds a way to let me know He is there and my faith is strengthened and we are walking together again.

This week I had an extraordinary moment of pure grace. A friend sent me a link to a piece of music which I hadn’t heard before. She had no way of knowing how I would be affected by its haunting beauty. I had so many questions for God as I wrestled with the emotion it created in me. Eventually I realised that my longing for God flowed from the music and the sound of the cello and the piano. In fact, I felt a connection to everything and everyone involved in the process of the music coming to my awareness. Only God knew that it would touch something so deep and take me to a new place in our relationship. It was another moment when like Thomas I could say ‘My Lord and my God.’

Eight

Peace be unto us all.

Indeed, if I was one of the disciples in those days when Jesus died on the cross, I am very sure that I would have been confused and terribly frightened. If Jesus, that I looked up to as my confidant and strong tower can not avoid such a terrible death… then who am I?

I often wondered where Thomas was on that day when Jesus first showed Himself. Why wasn’t he with the others cowering in fear. I also wonder for some of the others too who would have families, in fear that their families may also be in danger.

I know that whether I was there present or absent and been informed, I will like proof. I will be the Thomas.

I am lucky to have been born into a Christian home so the seed was planted. Over many years, my Lord and my God has shown Himself present in my life through the Holy Spirit which he imparted to them and you and me. Verse 22..’And with that He breathed on them and said Receive the Holy Spirit’. In times of trouble He stayed with me. In grief, He comforted me. He laughed with me, cried with me, danced with me.

I say to myself, to my soul, The Lord is my portion therefore I will wait for Him. Great is His faithfulness. I have my worries and my doubts. I cannot rely on myself for anything, I am too weak. All I rely on is God’s love for us and His Faithfulness. He keeps His Word. When He said I will be with you till the end, He meant it and has kept His promise.

Hallelujah Christ has risen. He has risen indeed. Hallelujah.

Jesus prayed for us in John 17 and He prayed in verse 22…that ” I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — “

Peace be unto us all as we remain one with Christ and with one another in His name. Amen.
Pax et Bonum

Nine

Friends:

The first day of the Jewish week was the day we call Sunday, the day after Sabbath. Nowadays our “Sabbath” equivalent is Sunday, and so many now see Monday as the first day.

It may seem strange that they shut themselves in “for fear of the Jews” since they themselves were all Jews, but we may assume that the writer meant “the Jewish authorities” who had conspired and contrived to have Jesus put to death.

But the solid walls and barricaded doors were no barrier to the risen Christ.

I remember being immensely excited when over 40 years ago I first encountered v22 in a deep way – that Jesus breathed on them, because by then I knew that breath was spirit and life, as well as physical intake of oxygen.

You could say that this was John’s equivalent of Pentecost – the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus in effect took a deep breath and – same word – inspired them. To breathe in is to inspire, literally and metaphorically, and to breathe out is to expire, and the last time we breathe out we expire in the other sense of the word – as Jesus did on the cross. He breathed his last.

I’ve a lot of time for Thomas, the one who had earlier said “let us go to Jerusalem and die with him”. He wanted only the same evidence that they’d had, and – excuse my play on words – first-hand experience. Not second-hand!

I’m comforted by the fact that there’s nothing about doubt in the Greek, rather unbelief. For me, doubt is a stepping-stone to faith. And the opposite of faith is not doubt but fear; be not afraid!

It’s all very well for Jesus to be reported as saying, “blessed are those who have not seen but have believed”, but how are we to draw the difficult line between faith and gullibility?

I think we take in valuable learning from those who have gone before, but then at some stage God speaks to us in our own language and understanding.

So my prayer for all of us is that, like Thomas, we may experience for ourselves at first hand the inspiration of the risen Christ.

Blessings

Ten

Today’s Gospel filled me with happiness, because I have not seen, and yet I believe. Therefore I am blessed. I enjoy been in the presence of the Lord and I feel He is calling me just to keep believing. Thank you Lord.

I keep in my prayers all people who are suffering, in particular a friend of the family, C, who is in hospital. And J, who lost his son a month ago, and still has not being able to bury him. Please Lord, grant them your Healing and your Peace.

Eleven

This Gospel is one of my favourites. And today I haven’t been caught by one word or phrase, but instead I have been ‘bombarded’ by lot of things. As usual, I wrote them all, and during the meditation I tried to make sense of them, but I wasn’t able to do it, till I caught my crayons and put arrows and colour in between, and all was revealed.

What united all was Jesus:

  • His Presence transformed the fear of the Disciples into Joy, and the disbelieve of Thomas into believe.
  • His words: ‘Peace be with you’, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’, ‘Doubt no longer’, ‘Happy are those who didn’t see and believe’… all are the Risen Lord’ gifts to us all.
  • His Mission, becomes our Mission when He sent us too.

And I was filled with an immense Joy that makes me proclaim, as Thomas, My Lord and my God; the words by which I always identify with My Redeemer, my dear Lord Jesus.

Thank you Lord for all your Mercy to me, for your generous Love, for talking to me through today’s Gospel.

Please extend your Mercy and Peace to all the world, in so much need of you, and keep in your Risen hands all those who are suffering today. In your Mercy Lord, Hear my prayer.