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Youth Ministry Resources - 2nd Sunday of Easter

Year A: John 20:19-31 - Jesus appears to Thomas and the disciples - 2nd Sunday of Easter

The first concern we are aware of in this reading is that of fear. The disciples were scared, they were afraid and were living in fear that the Jews would treat them in the same manner they had treated their Lord. Into this palpable terror, the Risen One Jesus the Christ, enters and offers all present PEACE, Jesus offers the disciples peace more than once to assure them that he is in control of the proceedings and that he alone can provide them with the peace and tranquillity they require to be ready to receive the Holy Spirit.

Jesus clearly demonstrates that the crucified One is also the Risen one by showing the disciples his wounds and also by not being barred by locked doors. It is worth noting that the evangelist John uses the word "matherai" meaning disciple, as the group of people Jesus appears to. There is a conscious use of the word 'disciple' throughout the passage to differentiate between the 12 or the apostles. John is clearly intending this message of peace, forgiveness and sending forth, for the whole believing community.

Because we too are followers of Jesus Christ, we are disciples who are offered exactly what the first believers of Christ were offered. Most importantly, Jesus is offering us peace, a peace the world cannot give. Every time we celebrate Eucharist together and in many other liturgies, we are asked to offer each other a sign of peace. This is one of the most special gestures we can make during the liturgy so we must be certain that we are not just imitating chooks in the chook pen, nodding away at each other. By offering a sign of peace, we are in fact offering what Jesus offered the disciples during his appearances - a deep peace that the world cannot provide a deep peace only obtainable because of the incredible graciousness of God.

We hear Thomas reprimanded for demanding such a sign before he would believe because he should have believed on the basis of the word spoken by the disciples. This passage is reassuring and encouraging for us "who have not seen and yet believe." Just like the disciples, we have received the Holy Spirit, we have been anointed "priest, prophet and king" and as a result, we too have been commissioned as disciples to represent Jesus in the world. So let's get out there and make a difference by bringing peace to all our encounters.

Cate Mapstone

YOUTH ANGLE: I came so that they might have life and have it to the full.

How do we get fullness of life? Some of us have so many activities going on - school, studies, work, band practice, tuition, sailing, basketball training, tennis, football, more work, birthday parties, dinner parties, coffee meetings, baby sitting, volunteering, work meetings, visiting grandparents or grandkids, social group, prayer group, youth group, assignments, assessments, exams . . . the list goes on! Keeping busy may keep our lives full, but doesn't necessarily give us fullness of life.

Fullness of Life means that all aspects of human living are nurtured. That's Physical needs (food, water, shelter), Emotional needs (love, care, dignity, safety), Relationship needs (sense of belonging) and Spiritual needs (relationship with our soul and the Creator). And Jesus' wish is that each of us have that. Whether you are a 5 yr old malnourished child in Mexico, a 12 yr street child in Kenya, a 15 yr old student at Monte, a 26 yr old Iraqi in detention, a 45 year old Muslim businessman in Turkey or 67 year old farmer in outback NSW - Jesus' vision for you and all of us is fullness of every aspect of life. Ask yourself two things: 1. Are we nurturing each part of our lives to have fullness of life? 2. Are we active in meeting the needs of others so they too can have fullness of life?

Manuela Macri

Year A: 2nd Sunday of Easter

Today's Gospel overflows with abundant teaching. Too often we can get caught up in the story of Thomas and his most explicit demands of touching the wounds of Christ. There is so much more to today's Gospel than the cynicism of Thomas or his most profound statement of faith "My Lord and my God". Mary Magdalene has just announced "I have seen the Lord" and the disciples are locked away in a room full of fear, turmoil and confusion. "Jesus came and stood among them" this reality may have only added to their fear until Jesus speaks of Peace. Then we can only imagine the excitement and delight. Jesus showed them that the risen one was also the crucified one. This was the same Lord they had known, had eaten with, had listen to, had journeyed with, had prayed with.

Jesus then breathes God's Spirit on the disciples, not a select twelve, but the whole of the followers of Christ. Jesus speaks of the power to forgive sin being given to the disciples. Remember at the beginning of the Gospel, we hear of John the Baptist naming Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus is passing on that power of reconciliation to the followers of Christ. It becomes our work to continue Christ's work of reconciling the human race to the Father. This has been the essential work of Jesus and now becomes our essential work. Yes, we are very much a part of this story, in fact we get a special mention. Jesus calls us Blessed - "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe." Blessed does not mean that we bask in the compliment and do little else. Jesus names us as blessed because our faith is alive and active and our role is to continue Christ's work of reconciling humanity to God. No small task I will admit - however, we have been given God's Spirit and so we are not alone. Remember, the greater our faith, the more scope for God's power to work.

Cate Mapstone

Youth Ministry Resources 2nd Sunday of Easter
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Youth Ministry Resources 2nd Sunday of Easter