For Sunday, April 7, 2013
Second Sunday of Easter
Revelation 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19
Stock market indices have all regained their positions after the losses they incurred during the "Great Recession." The Dow, the NASDAQ, and the S&P 500 all continue to flirt with record highs. Some economists hail these numbers as a recovery, while others voice concern that the stock market is not reflecting the true picture of the nation's economy.
The fact that the number of mergers in the first quarter of 2013 was the lowest in a decade leaves some economists worried that businesses are continuing to hold on to their cash reserves out of concern for the future.
As reported on Tuesday, the jobless rate in the Euro Zone reached a record high of 12% in January and February, suggesting that the worldwide economy is still in a very unsettled state of affairs.
The housing market also presents a mixed picture. Ten days ago the New York Times published a story about the sudden rise in home demand. Since home building is one of the driving factors of an improving economy, the fact that available housing stock is at the lowest level since 1999 portends a rosier future for construction companies. But there are still a large number of homes held by banks that are in foreclosure, and this housing stock has not yet been released on the market. Housing still faces an uncertain future.
There are a lot of people who would say that things are getting better because their own personal experience suggests an improvement in the economy. On the other hand, there are still plenty of people who are out of work, many food pantries that are seeing record numbers of families, and consumer confidence that has still not rebounded.
The tentativeness in the economy is similar to that experienced by the disciples after the resurrection of Jesus. They weren't quite sure what to do. Even though he appeared to them on the night of his resurrection, and breathed the Holy Spirit upon them, a week later they were still gathered in a locked room. This band of followers was holding back the Spirit that had been given them to invigorate their faith.
Thomas' confession may have helped to propel them forward. He acknowledged that the risen Jesus is Lord and God. The response that Jesus gives was an assurance to the Johannine community. Those who had not seen the physical presence of the risen Lord are still endowed with the gift of the Spirit and live in the fullness of Christ.
We've just celebrated Easter with great joy and exaltation. Last Sunday was a jubilant day. We ended our Lenten fasting, renewed our baptismal vows, and sang out our Alleluias with great gusto and joy. But now we need that renewal to live in us each day. As Pope Francis tweeted just a week ago: "Being with Jesus demands that we go out from ourselves, and from living a tired and habitual faith."
We cannot be tentative in how we live what we believe. Thomas wanted absolute confirmation that Christ was alive, even though the other disciples bore witness to the Resurrection. Some people will always want an absolute surety about economic performance. The economy may or may not be recovering. Some say things are getting better, others are not so sure. Economists seem to waver back and forth.
But our faith cannot waver. We have the Spirit of Christ in us. And that is enough to help us know that things do get better because the Lord is risen from the tomb!
God of eternal mercy,
your love is without end
and your care for your people endures through every generation.
We rejoice in your Son's rising from the dead
and we profess our devotion to you, the one true God.
Enliven in us the Spirit of our baptism
that we may give constant witness to your love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
2013 CATHOLIC PARISH WEBSITE OF THE YEAR AWARD
Liturgical Publications Inc (LPi) and CatholicTechTalk.com are sponsoring this second annual contest to recognize the hard work that all church website administrators, developers, and designers do. LPi has been providing churches with the most complete line of publishing and communication services for over 40 years, and wants to acknowledge the time spent designing and maintaining these essential communication tools. The contest is open to all Catholic parishes in the USA. For more info and to enter go to: http://catholictechtalk.com/contests/.
CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH—APRIL 2013
The USCCB has many resources available to promote Child Abuse Prevention Month. Visit: http://usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/resources/child-abuse-prevention-month-resources.cfm to learn more.
CATHOLIC HOME MISSIONS APPEAL
Many Dioceses will take up the annual Catholic Home Missions Appeal Collection the weekend of April 27–28. You'll find parish resources available on the USSCB website at: http://usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/catholic-home-missions-appeal/collection/index.cfm.