Last Sunday we witnessed the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, by far the greatest event of heaven and earth. We celebrate it every year, and it has perhaps become clichéd. But then, we would do well to remember that the Resurrection is central to our faith. What happened to Jesus is a promise to every Christian; by His resurrection we know that we, and all who have gone before us, will be raised from the dead.

The earth-shattering happening resounded hugely in Jerusalem. To begin with, Peter and John, Mary of Magdala and other women of Galilee encountered the Resurrected Lord on Easter morning; and that evening, He appeared to two on their road to the hamlet of Emmaus. And while some of the disciples failed to accept their Master’s Resurrection as true, Jesus stood in their midst, saying, ‘Peace be upon you.’ After mildly reproaching them for their scepticism, He went on to reassure and convey to them His power.

As a result, when asked by the Sanhedrin, ‘By what power or by what name did you do this [healing]?’, Peter replied boldly: ‘… by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead…’ The priests had nothing to say in opposition to the healings, but warned the Apostles to speak no more to any one or teach in Jesus’ name. Peter and John retorted: ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.’

In short, that is what transpired in the first week of Our Lord’s Resurrection; that was the fire with which the Apostles spoke, convinced of Christ’s divinity. Contrast it with the recent whimper of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), purportedly to help address ‘emerging challenges due to the current socio-cultural, religious, and political situation’[1] in the country. The CBCI is the apex decision-making body representing the Catholic community in India; but do their decisions inspire and embolden the Catholic fold, or do they, instead, gaslight and dishearten the community?


After the Easter week, during which we read from the Acts of the Apostles, considered the second part of St Luke’s Gospel and makes up the First Reading (4: 32-35), we have yet another text that relates the apostolic labours and first steps taken by the Christian community. The Church considers the Acts a precious guide and exemplary stimulus for the life of Christians: it portrays how they went from listening to the Word to developing the faith; from Baptism to solidarity; from persecution to martyrdom.

‘The company of believers were one of heart and soul,’ says the physician-author Luke. Thus enthused, they found no point in owning things; they held them in common. This practice, however, was never obligatory but purely voluntary; it does not favour the socialist ideal or go against the concept of private holdings. The believers’ focus was on testifying to the Resurrection. And great was the grace among them; with all receiving due attention, there was no needy person among them. They worried not about their life, about what they would eat or drink, or about their body and what they would wear. (Cf. Mt 6: 25)

Truly, our life is more than food, our body more than clothing. What’s more, our Resurrected Lord gives us life, and life in abundance. We should not be concerned about rejection, for the stone which the builders rejected finally became the cornerstone. Such is the work of the Lord, a marvel in our eyes, says the Psalm. Hence, dear CBCI, ‘when they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time.’ (Mt 10: 19)

In the Second Reading (1 Jn 5: 1-6), St John makes a rare appearance[2] through his epistle. He assures his community, possibly based in proconsular Asia[3], that God’s commandments are ‘not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?’ This is not a simple text; here, the Beloved Disciple of Christ counters the Gnostics who denied the Incarnation and Death of the Son of God. Hence, the Epistler affirms that ‘this is He who came by water and blood, JESUS CHRIST, not with the water only but with the water and the blood.’ That is to say, God did not abandon Jesus before his Passion and Death.

If it be natural for one to fear bloodshed, is it not supernatural that martyrs have had the courage to shed their own? The Gospel (Jn 20: 19-31) tells us how on the evening of the Resurrection, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them, saying, ‘Peace be with you.’ He had returned to fulfil His promise at the Last Supper. He now commanded them to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of Salvation; he also imparted them the sublime power to forgive sins (Sacrament of Penance). Although among them was one who doubted – Thomas – in a bit he too was touched and transformed by the Lord. And then, he touched India and transformed us.

May the CBCI, you and me be inspired by the example of St Thomas the Apostle of India, who is wrongly labelled ‘Doubting Thomas’. He sent forth the highest profession of faith in Christ’s divinity: ‘My Lord and my God!’ Let us, then, with our hearts set on fire, have recourse to him who once doubted, but not for long, and ever after acted strong. And on this Feast day of Divine Mercy, meant to be a special refuge and shelter for the consolation of souls, may we grow in the love of God and merit His mercy always.



[2] ‘The First Letter of John is the ONLY biblical book that is included in its entirety in the Lectionary for Mass!  It is scheduled to be read every year on the weekdays of the Christmas Season, although not all of it is read in any particular year, depending on which days of the week Christmas and Epiphany are celebrated.  On Sundays and Major Feasts, only about one third of 1 John is read (mostly on the Sundays of Easter in Year B). Selections from 1 John are also recommended or optional for several Saints Days and various other Masses.  In contrast, the Second and Third Letters of John are never read on Sundays and never recommended for special Masses, but only one short reading from each letter is scheduled for a weekday Mass every two years.’

[3] The Roman province of Asia, whose most prominent cities were Ephesus, Sardis, Pergamon and Aphrodisias (modern names: Selcuk; Sart; Pergamos; Geira, all in Turkey). A proconsul was in charge of the Asian province.