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Reflection on the Second Sunday of Easter

Posted on April 7, 2024, by Mary Swain SL

Acts 4:32-35, 1 John 5:1-6, John 20:19-31  

Several years ago, during the Easter Vigil Elaine Prevallet quoted a phrase from a poem of Wendell Berry’s.  He used the expression, “Practice resurrection.”  Some years later in her Easter Vigil homily, Susan Classen shared an insight of hers: Nothing can hold back or contain the constant forward movement of God’s abundant, creative, loving goodness. 

In the last few weeks, the daffodils and jonquils have been practicing resurrection, even when the temperature drops into the 30s. Nothing, not even cold, can hold back that constant movement of God’s creative goodness. Some of the fields are very green.  Winter wheat is practicing resurrection.  Even now trees are beginning to bud and leaf out. Creation is opening itself to Easter possibilities.

The first Easter Sunday morning did not begin as a joyful day for Jesus’ disciples. He was gone, murdered. How could things have changed so much in one week? The crowds had been cheering Jesus on as a national hero, then calling for his murder.

But, as Scripture tells us, the disciples began to experience Jesus somehow alive and in their midst. In the Acts of the Apostles readings during the past week, we find Peter and the other Apostles practicing resurrection — healing people who are sick and comforting some who are disturbed. The disciples are practicing resurrection. Once again, we witness the constant forward movement of God’s abundant goodness.  

Resurrection requires action on our part, going out beyond ourselves. We must practice resurrection. As followers of Jesus, we must open ourselves to Easter possibilities in our daily lives. We must be aware of that constant forward movement of God. We respond to the request of the person next to us. We reach out to someone who needs help. We act with kindness. Motherhouse employees practice resurrection in their daily work here. Many of us experience that kind of practicing resurrection.

According to John’s telling of the story in today’s Gospel, the disciples on Easter night, two days after Jesus’ death, were gathered together behind locked doors. They were afraid — understandably. We can think how people must be huddled behind closed doors in Gaza these days or in our own country where immigrants who have lived and worked in the U.S. for many years are afraid to go out for fear of ICE, the immigration officials.

Jesus’ message to the disciples and to us is one of peace. Jesus is practicing resurrection, encouraging his disciples to be forgiving of others, assuring them they need not be afraid. Jesus in his presence and his words affirms that nothing can hold back the constant forward movement of God’s abundant, creative, loving goodness. 

We are called upon each day to be faithful to our own commitment, to that way given to each of us — our daily work, our retirement, our care for our families, our concern for those with whom we work. That is how we must do our part to practice resurrection, to be followers of Jesus. As we move into Eucharist this morning, let us ask that we continue to be a constant forward movement of God’s loving goodness. Let us ask that the mysterious Spirit whom Jesus breathes out in the Gospel, the amorphous Spirit who permeates the entire universe and each of us, will show us ways to bring peace to this world of ours and to the lives of those around us.


Mary Swain SL

Mary Swain SL has been a consultant to the National Religious Retirement Office and has served on the board for the National Association for Treasurers of Religious Institutes. Along with her math background and service to the Loretto Community in the financial area, she has experience as a church organist and plans and prepares materials for Loretto liturgies at Loretto Motherhouse and for special occasions. Mary resides at Loretto Motherhouse, the grounds of which receive her careful tending and loving touch.