The Sunday readings during the Easter cycle take a different tack. They are not woven together in the way to which we are accustomed. All three readings deal with the effects of the resurrection of Jesus both on the individual believer and on the community as a whole. The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles directs our attention to the growth of the early church under the Spirit’s lead. The gospel, generally taken from John, speaks of the Spirit’s action in guiding the human soul to its destiny. The second reading, generally taken from Peter or John, reinforce this gospel direction.
There are three brief summaries of early church life found in Acts. They appear as the first reading in each of the A B C cycles. They show the faith growing as a new community begins to evolve, just as it grows in the soul of an incredulous Thomas, as he is invited to put his fingers into the nail wounds on Jesus’s hands and his hand into the spear wound in Jesus’ side. This gospel story always appears as the gospel account for today, the Second Sunday of Easter, because that event is said to happen eight days after the resurrection of Jesus. Thomas, the skeptic, is led to give voice to the full Easter belief of the Church – Jesus is both “Lord and God.” In the closing verses of this gospel today, John indicates his reason for writing his gospel … that the reader might come to believe. Put faith in, Jesus as Son of God and, in so doing, have eternal life in his name.