April 15th, 2012 (see other dates)
Second Sunday of Easter
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Choose one statement from this reading that you think shows the greatest contrast with today's world. Why do you think it is so difficult even for Christians to "be of one heart and one mind"? Why is it sometimes hard for us to share what we have with those who have less? Who are some of the people or groups you know of who do share generously so that others are not in need? What do you think members of Catholic religious orders might share with us about how to share our property and possessions?
What signs of sharing material resources do you see in your own parish? What signs do you give?
Reading 1 Acts 4:32-35
Reading 1 ReflectionDoes this reading sound like it is describing a dream world? Can we even imagine a world in which everyone shared what they had and no one was in need? The first Christian communities did indeed live in harmony and hold all of their property and possessions in common. They believed that the end of the world was coming soon. And they wanted to be ready for Jesus' second coming.
We do not know exactly when Jesus will come again. But we do know that he wants to find us providing for others' needs and living together in harmony.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Think of someone who has proven his or her love or true friendship for you. How has he or she shown love? How have you shown your love for this person? What connections do you see between loving God and relating to others as God commands? If someone complained to you that God's commandments are "too hard," what might you say in response?
If you wanted to help a child grow in understanding how Jesus loves us, how would you do it? Why?
Reading 2 1 John 5:1-6
Reading 2 ReflectionA small child may say, "I love you" to Mom or Dad, and immediately go off to do something Mom or Dad has told him not to do. But as we grow up, we come to understand that love is proven in action. Most importantly, as this reading reminds us, we prove our love for God and others by living as God has commanded.
Our model in what true love means is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who gave his life for us.
Discussion Questions for GospelWhat is the first thing Jesus says to his disciples who are hiding behind locked doors? Why do you think he says this? What does receiving the power of the Holy Spirit enable the disciples to do? What good would you say came out of Thomas' missing out on Jesus' first visit?
How do we experience the peace and forgiveness of Jesus in the Church today? Sometimes when we hide behind the locked doors of doubt, fear, or anger, Jesus makes his presence known to us. What are some of the ways he might do that?
Gospel John 20:19-31
Gospel ReflectionPut yourself in Thomas' place. When the risen Jesus appeared to the other disciples, you were absent. Now they are insisting that not only did they see him, but he breathed the power of the Holy Spirit on them. Poor Thomas! You definitely feel left out. So you insist that you will never believe unless you get to stick your finger into Jesus' wounded hands and side.
A week later you have an opportunity to be true to your word. Jesus once again appears and invites you to touch and examine his wounds. Your doubts are blown away! You exclaim, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus points out that you believe because you have seen him for yourself. But who do you now hear him praising?
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
The Fruits of SharingIn the reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that the community of believers shared all things in common. Illustrate this concept by making a fruit salad. Have each child bring one piece of fruit. Clean and cut these and put the small fruit pieces in a large bowl. Then give each child a serving of the fruit in a paper cup or bowl.
Greetings of PeaceIn the gospel, the risen Jesus appears to his apostles and greets them with words of peace. Gather the children around the prayer table. Read the gospel to them. Then have children share a sign of peace with each other, such as a handshake or hug. Encourage them to share these signs of peace with others throughout the week.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Taking InventoryPicture all of your talents, skills, and possessions gathered together in a barn. Take an inventory by listing the first five items that come to mind under the following columns:
My Talents My Skills My Possessions
Now picture someone who is hungry or homeless, lonely or sick coming to your barn to receive help. Decide what you will take from your inventory to share what God has given you with this person in need. Describe your plan in writing.
Illustrating the Blest BelieversToday's gospel includes one of the most profound prayers in the Bible and one of the most consoling praises Jesus voiced about his followers. Look again at the reading to find both the prayer of Thomas and the praise of those who believe in the risen Lord.
With your group or partner, make a collage of illustrations and photos to represent the phrase, "Blest are they who have not seen and have believed." Use Catholic magazines and newspapers, as well as any available parish and family photos.
Decide how you will incorporate Thomas' prayer into the collage as the prayer of all believers.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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