Below you will find reflections and prayers for every day during this Second Week of Easter. We take a look at the Gospel for Sunday and draw out from it some thoughts and suggestions for reflection and prayer for each day. If you are picking this up after Sunday you may like to read Sunday’s reflection first.

LEON, SPAIN – JULY 17, 2014: Stained glass window depicting Jesus and the apostles in the cathedral of Leon, Castille and Leon, Spain. The episode of Thomas the Apostle touching Jesus’ wound is depicted.

Sunday
The Gospels record for us a number of stories about Jesus appearing to the disciples after his resurrection. Although the situations are different there are some common threads in these stories; two in particular. First, in almost all of the resurrection accounts the disciples failed to recognise the risen Christ. Mary does not at first recognise Jesus in the garden, thinking he is the gardener. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus do not recognise Jesus until he is at supper and breaks bread with them. Peter, who has gone back to his old fishing job, does not recognise Jesus on the shore until John points him out and says “It is the Lord”. In the Gospel for today, Jesus has to show them his hands and his feet so that they can be reassured that it really is him, and Thomas refuses to believe unless he sees. The second characteristic of all these stories is what Jesus says to the disciples. Repeatedly he says “Peace be with you”. In fact, he says it three times in this Sunday’s Gospel. (You can read the account for yourself in John 20, verses 19-31). Hearing this message of peace is important for us as we continue to cope with this terrible virus and its effects. The Gospel this week begins by saying that Jesus comes to the terrified disciples who had ‘self-isolated’ themselves in a room. There, in the midst of their fear, Jesus comes and “stands among them”.

To consider: This little phrase has such an essential message for us at this time. In the midst of this pandemic, Jesus stands among us. He is not remote but is with us as he was with his frightened disciples in that room. So, how are you as we start another week of lockdown? Living with anxiety? Stress? Discovering new insights and balance?

Pray: that you may know the presence of the risen Christ as he stands with you. Speak to the Lord about whatever is going on for you. (Take your time over this).

Pray: for all those who are anxious and afraid as the result of the pandemic.

You might like to say this prayer every day this week:

Prayer for the week
Drop thy still dews of quietness
Till all our strivings cease.
Take from our souls the strain and stress
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace,
The beauty of thy peace.

Monday
“He (Jesus) said to them, “Peace be with you”

These are Jesus first words to the disciples in that room; words of peace. The peace of Christ is not an absence of trouble but is a gift from the Lord which abides deep down in the midst of joys and sorrows. In the Gospel, we read that the disciples are filled with joy as a result.

To consider: Is this deep peace of Christ a reality for you? How do you experience it or feel its absence?

Pray: Imagine Jesus before you saying to you “Peace be with you” and adding your name (Take your time over this).

Pray: for those key workers under great stress that they may know the peace of Christ in whatever way is right for them

Prayer for the week
You may like to say the prayer for the week (see Sunday)

Tuesday
“Unless I see the holes the nails made…. I refuse to believe.”

Jesus tells the disciples that he will be sending them out but then the story changes tack and we read about Thomas and his reaction to the accounts of the resurrection. He finds belief difficult. We shouldn’t be too hard on Thomas. All the other disciples have experienced the risen Lord. He hasn’t. Jesus doesn’t dismiss Thomas because finds faith hard. He comes and once again says “Peace be with you.”

To consider: Faith is not always easy. Speak to the Lord about any difficulties you have. (Take your time over this).

Pray: that your faith will be strengthened.

Pray: for all those who find believing in a loving God difficult at this time.

Prayer for the week
You may like to say the prayer for the week (see Sunday)

Wednesday
“Put your finger here, look here are my hands. Give me your hand…”

Jesus invites this doubter Thomas to do what no one else has yet done, to actually touch him.
There is an invitation here. Jesus invites Thomas to “Give me your hand”.

To consider: This invitation is to us as well. Jesus says to each one of us, “give me your hand.” Giving someone a hand is something a lot of wonderful people are doing at the moment. Jesus offers his hand to us and asks us to put our hand in his, and if we do, he will ask us to offer our hands to others too.

Pray: that you may know that you are held in the palm of God’s hand. Know that this is true deep within you. (Take your time over this).

Pray: for all those volunteers offering a hand to neighbours and friends at this time, especially any known to you.

Prayer for the week
You may like to say the prayer for the week (see Sunday)

Thursday
“My Lord and my God.:

Thomas responds in the only way possible once he has met the risen Christ. He falls at his feet and expresses what Jesus now means to him. He says “My Lord and my God.”

To consider: what does it really mean to you to call Jesus my Lord and my God?

Pray: spend some time imagining this scene. Imagine you are Thomas at the feet of Jesus. What do you say? What does Jesus say to you? (Take your time over this).

Pray: for our Holy Redeemer community and all those who call Jesus “My Lord and my God”. You might also want to pray for any community you are with on-line at Mass.

Prayer for the week
You may like to say the prayer for the week (see Sunday)

Friday
“Jesus said …Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe”.

These words are a blessing on us. But is it true that we have not seen the Lord? It is true we have not seen him in the flesh as did those early disciples, but does that mean we have not encountered him?

To consider: It is possible to see Christ’s reflection in the world around us. He is to be found in the new life of springtime and in the suffering in those with COVID-19; in those selflessly helping others and those grieving the loss of a loved one.

Pray: Think back over the last week or so. Where have you encountered Christ? Thank him for his presence. (Take your time over this).

Pray: For your family and friends and all those you love. Pray for those whose loved ones have died and for their families who could not be with them during their final moments.

Prayer for the week
You may like to say the prayer for the week (see Sunday)

Saturday
“There are many other signs that Jesus worked… these are recorded that you may believe.”

With these words, the Gospel of John finishes. From beginning to end the purpose of this Gospel has been to tell what has happened so that all may believe.

To consider: “to believe” in John’s Gospel is the same as “to have life”; to live in the risen life of Christ that changes everything. Is that what believing really means to you?

Pray: Spend a while thinking about your own experience of the Risen Lord. Speak to him about what he means to you. (Take your time over this).

Pray: For all those bringing life to others. Today you might like to pray especially for those working in the NHS and those serving in care homes.

Prayer for the week
You may like to say the prayer for the week (see Sunday).

2nd Week of Easter
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