Second Sunday of Easter (B)
April 07, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.




Rite of Sprinkling




God of everlasting mercy,
who in the very recurrence of the paschal feast
kindle the faith of the people you have made your own,
increase, we pray, the grace you have bestowed,
that all may grasp and rightly understand
in what font they have been washed,
by whose Spirit they have been reborn,
by whose Blood they have been redeemed.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading Acts 4:32-35

The whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33 With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35 They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

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

R/. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting.

Second Reading 1 Jn. 5:1-6

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, 4 for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. 5 Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth.

Gospel Acclamation Jn. 20:29

Gospel  Jn 20:19-31

It was evening on the day Jesus rose from the dead, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jewish authorities. Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 24 But Thomas, who was called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Catena Nova

“Because you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe.”  There was a wonderful providence behind these words of the Savior, and they can be of very great help to us…. As always, Christ had to be patient with Thomas when he said he would not believe and with the other disciples too when they thought they were seeing a ghost. Because of his desire to convince the whole world, he most willingly showed them the marks of the nails and the wound in his side; because he wished those who needed such signs as a support for their faith to have no possible reason for doubt, he even took food although he had no need for it. But when anyone accepts what he has not seen, believing on the word of his teacher, the faith by which he honors the one his teacher proclaims to him is worthy of great praise. Blessed, therefore, is everyone who believes the message of the holy apostles who, as Luke says, were eyewitnesses of Christ’s actions and ministers of the word. If we desire eternal life and long for a dwelling place in heaven, we must listen to them (St. Cyril of Alexandria).

The reason why our risen Redeemer showed his disciples, in such a wonderful way, that his body was at one and the same time incorruptible and yet capable of being touched, was that he wanted to inspire them with hope in their own resurrection and to strengthen their belief in his. He proved to them, therefore, that while his body was now imperishable, they could still touch it with their hands, to convince them beyond any doubt that after his resurrection his body was the same as their own, different only by reason of its being glorified. (Pope St. Gregory the Great)
With a kindly countenance our good Lord looked into his side, and he gazed with joy, and with his sweet regard he drew his creature’s understanding into his side by the same wound; and there he revealed a fair and delectable place, large enough for all mankind that will be saved and will rest in peace and in love.  And with that he brought to mind the dear and precious blood and water which he suffered to be shed for love.  And in this sweet sight he showed his blessed heart split in two, and as he rejoiced he showed to my understanding a part of his blessed divinity, as much as was his will at that time, strengthening my poor soul to understand what can be said, that is the endless love which was without beginning and is and always shall be.  (Julian of Norwich)
In giving us, as he did, his Son, who is his one and only Word, God spoke to us once and for all, in this single Word, and he has no occasion to speak further…. Therefore if someone were now to ask questions of God or seek any vision or revelation, he would not only be acting foolishly but would be committing an offense against God – for he should set his eyes altogether upon Christ and seek nothing beyond Christ (St. John of the Cross).

When I look into the future, I am frightened, but why plunge into the future? Only the present moment is precious to me, as the future may never enter my soul at all. It is no longer in my power, to change, correct or add to the past; For neither sages nor prophets could do that. And so, what the past has embraced I must entrust to God. O present moment, you belong to me, whole and entire. I desire to use you as best I can. And although I am weak and small, You grant me the grace of Your omnipotence. And so, trusting in Your mercy, I walk through life like a little child, offering You each day this heart burning with love for Your greater glory. King of Mercy, guide my soul (St. Faustina Kowalska).

It need not discourage us if we are full of doubts. Healthy questions keep faith dynamic. In fact, unless we start with doubts we cannot have a deep-rooted faith. One who believes lightly and unthinkingly has not much of a belief. He who has a faith which is not to be shaken has won it through blood and tears — has worked his way from doubt to truth as one who reaches a clearing through a thicket of brambles and thorns (Helen Keller).

There is no hope of understanding the Resurrection outside the process of renewing humanity in forgiveness. We are all agreed that the empty tomb proves nothing. We need to add that no amount of apparitions, however well authenticated, would mean anything either, apart from the testimony of forgiven lives communicating forgiveness. The resurrection was an experience of forgiveness. The disciples had all abandoned Jesus, becoming complicit with his murderers. The fact that the resurrection was happening to them was an experience of forgiveness for them (Rowan Williams).



     One of my friends is a doubting Thomas — literally, his name is Tom.  Despite going to a Catholic school, being an altar server, having Catholic parents, going through confirmation — nevertheless, he refers to the "Imaginary Friend" to whom I pray.  He thinks of  himself as the only "normal person" in my life, church people being "brainwashed."  He never tires of telling me, "No one believes this stuff anymore, or goes to church, or cares.  And the Catholic Church has ruined religion for everybody."
     Now why, you might ask, do I count Tom among my friends?  Well, for one thing his rather "earthy" character oddly keeps me tethered to the ground when my spiritual flights of fancy threaten to uproot me from some aspects of "reality."   See, I've been known to prefer my head in the clouds to my feet on the ground.  But more than that, I let him mock my faith because just maybe there's a wee bit of doubting Thomas in me.  I also think we believer types need a doubting Thomas in our life, to keep us honest.  (By the way, Tom has kept a small statue of his patron saint I gave him once — 'cause there just might be a wee bit of faith in him).
     Whatever the case, I for one don’t blame St. Thomas one bit for wanting hard evidence.  Wouldn’t you?   If you know anything about psychology -- or politics -- you know people will believe most anything if they really want to.  I too have looked for some evidence, believe it or not.  And I have taken solace in the many scientific studies done on the Shroud of Turin, for example, which  have supported by belief in the Paschal Mystery.  And that mysterious cloak which has failed to deteriorate after many centuries that belonged to St. Juan Diego and which has the mysterious image of Our Lady of Guadalupe imprinted on it has bolstered my faith in the Incarnation.  And the astounding analyses done on the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano have lent credence to my belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.  These artifacts of faith, you might call them, have served — I will admit — as counterparts to the apostle Thomas' insistence on probing the wounds of the Risen Lord.
     But I am not the credulous sort — in case you have doubts.  The religious lunacy I see on YouTube touting the latest "prophecy" or "apparition" leaves me cold as does the fanaticism of  self-appointed guardians of Catholic orthodoxy.  But I do give serious attention to the skeptics on YouTube who try and discredit the faith, often by undermining the Scriptures.  They've actually helped me sharpen my beliefs, though not without some nagging doubts, to be honest. 
     Though I'm more troubled these days growing UAP disclosures from reputable researchers and the questions they raise in my mind about why God would be so interested in this tiny speck of a planet in an unimaginably vast universe — or multiverse — much less in this race of bellicose primates who threaten to blow the planet up with their nuclear weapons. 
     Still, the Shroud, the Tilma, and the Monstrance housed in Turin, Mexico City and Lanciano give me pause to think, well, it just might be true, after all.   For these "witness-bearers" might well be counterparts to the originals like Mary Magdalene, or Peter, or John -- who told Thomas ‘We have seen the Lord’ (G).  They point, but do not compel.  Much like the empty tomb.
     For in the end our faith does not rest on later evidence, however intriguing, but on the testimony of  witnesses, past and present.  Either we believe them or we don’t.  None of us has put our finger into the hands that were pierced by nails, or into the side that was pierced by a lance.  No, all we have is the word of people who claim they were eyewitnesses to these things.  Some of whom wrote them down so that [we] may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God (G).
     But more than that, we are people to whom the Easter message has also been entrusted.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you (G), Jesus told the disciples.  So we can’t act like people in a “witness protection program” -- our doors locked for fear (G).  Whether fear of ridicule, or of sounding like fanatics, or even fear of our own secret doubts.
     Rather, Easter faith puts us on center stage, like the apostles -- including, presumably, Thomas, who with great power bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus (I).  Witness that has reached across the millennial to thosw who, a week ago,  throughout the world were joined to the community of believers (II) at the Easter Vigil.  
     But such things happen only if people are willing to say, even to a doubting Thomas, the victory that conquers the world is our faith (II).  And you can be sure before any of the neophytes approached a church asking about baptism, someone, somewhere, testified, by word or deed, to their belief in the Risen Lord.  It might have been a simple gesture, a kind word, a sophisticated argument from a competent apologist, or just an attitude that’s hard to put your finger on.  But it made an impact, such that faith led to faith. 
     Whatever helped these new Christians believe, it wasn’t because anyone saw the Risen One.  We haven’t.  Because for us, seeing is not believing.  Rather, believing is seeing. In the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not by the water alone, but by water and blood. [And, in the end] the Spirit is the one who testifies, and the Spirit truth (cf. II).


Intercessions (Joe Milner; The Sunday Website)

For the Church: that through the gift of the Spirit, we recognize God’s presence with us and profess with Thomas, “My Lord and My God.”

For all the newly baptized: that their faith may continue to grow and that they may generously offer loving service to those in need.

For the grace of reconciliation: that God will help us to turn from selfishness, forgive those who have injured us and be instruments of reconciliation in our society.

For all who are questioning their faith or God presence in their lives: that the Spirit will guide them to new insights and help them recognize God’s presence through the witness of Christian’s love and service.

For all who are in need, particularly those who suffer violence, are recovering from natural disasters or lack resources for daily living: that God will give them strength, help them to trust, and move the hearts of many to assist them.

For healing: that the Spirit will renew the gift of life in all who are sick, discouraged, struggling with addictions or weakness that comes with aging.

For an end to violence: that Christ's victory over death will turn hearts from violence and revenge and help us to respect the value and dignity of each human life.

For peace: that the Spirit will open dialogue and new understanding amongst nations, communities, and families who are in conflict.

God of life, source of all faith, through the waters of baptism you have raised us up in Jesus and given us life that endures. Day by day refine our faith, that we who have not seen the Christ  may truly confess him as our Lord and God and share the blessedness of those who believe. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (ICEL;1998)

Offertory Antiphon

Offertory Hymn


Blessed Thomas, doubt no longer,

see the wounds in hand and side,

now behold the risen Saviour

who for thee hath bled and died,

and from death's dark pit arising,

lives in body glorified.


Here behold the love victorious,

over death triumphant now,

see the feet where nails were driven,

and thy faith in him avow:

for he lives, the world's redeemer,

unto whom all knees shall bow.


Thomas looked upon the master:

Was it then indeed the Lord?

Were those wounds no phantom tokens?

Did the sight with truth accord?

Scarce believing, joy unbounded,

leapt to greet the Savior’s word.


Prostrate falling, Thomas worshipped:

'O my Master, Lord and God,’

Here in truth was Christ the Saviour

who the path of suffering trod,

and, to ransom souls unnumbered,

broke in pieces Satan's rod.


Thomas, sight has now convinced thee,

faith within thy heart has stirred;

Blessed more those faithful servants,

trusting in the Saviour's word,

who though vision is denied them,

still believe, and own him Lord.


Grant, O Father, that among them

we thy servants may be known,

and the ground be ever fruitful

where the seed of faith was sown,

till at length in heaven's glory,

faith and vision are but one.

Communion Antiphon


Closing Hymn


This joyful Easter-tide,

Away with care and sorrow!

My Love, the Crucified,

Hath sprung to life this morrow.


Had Christ, that once was slain,

Neer burst His three day prison,

Our faith had been in vain;

But now hath Christ arisen, Arisen, arisen, arisen!


My flesh in hope shall rest,

And for a season slumber;

Till trump from east to west,

Shall wake the dead in number.


Had Christ, that once was slain,

Neer burst His three day prison,

Our faith had been in vain;

But now hath Christ arisen, Arisen, arisen, arisen!


Deaths flood hath lost his chill,

Since Jesus crossed the river:

Lover of souls, from ill

My passing soul deliver.


Had Christ, that once was slain,

Neer burst His three day prison,

Our faith had been in vain;

But now hath Christ arisen, Arisen, arisen, arisen!