Animate Youth Ministries: April 2019

An Easter meditation

Animate Youth Ministries team coordinator Tom looks ahead to four special Sundays in April.

Sunday 7 April – John 8:1-11

Today’s gospel reading is perhaps one of the most famous stories from Jesus’ ministry. ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to cast a stone at her.’ With these words, Jesus exposes the hypocrisy of the scribes and pharisees, and thwarts their attempt to entrap him. Some people interpret this passage to mean that, since we are all sinners, we have no right to judge others for their sins. Surely however, as brothers and sisters in Christ, we have a duty to watch out for each other. If we see someone sin, we should rebuke them and hope that they would do the same for us. Through this, we can build each other up and help each other remain faithful to Jesus’ final command to the woman: ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’

Palm Sunday, 14 April – Luke 19:28-40; Luke 22:14-23:56

Today we hear the account of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem and also his Passion and death. The contrast between the two stories is astounding. The very people who celebrated him as the Messiah are calling for his death just a few days later. The enthusiasm the crowds had for Jesus’ arrival vanished as soon as it had come. What changed? People are fickle, which was as true 2,000 years ago as it is today. How often do we find ourselves caught up in the excitement of some new fad, only for our interest to dissipate as suddenly as it appeared? Maybe we may sometimes act the same way with regards to our faith; swept up by the fervour of the Easter or Christmas season, only to quickly forget once it passes. As we enter Holy Week, we must remind ourselves that our faith isn’t something to be pushed aside whenever we feel like it, but something to engage in and encounter through every aspect of our lives. We must welcome Christ each day with the same joy as the cheering crowds.

Easter Sunday, 21 April – John 20:1-9

What sums this day up better than the Sequence from today’s Mass?

Christians, to the Paschal Victim
offer sacrifice and praise.
The sheep are ransomed by the Lamb;
and Christ, the undefiled,
hath sinners to his Father reconciled.
Death with life contended: combat strangely ended!
Life's own Champion, slain, yet lives to reign.
Tell us, Mary: say
what thou didst see upon the way.
The tomb the Living did enclose;
I saw Christ's glory as He rose!
The angels there attesting;
shroud with grave-clothes resting.
Christ, my hope, has risen:
He goes before you into Galilee.
That Christ is truly risen
from the dead we know.
Victorious King, Thy mercy show!
Amen. Alleluia.

2nd Sunday of Easter, 28 April – John 20:19-31

‘Doubting Thomas’ is a phrase that, in my own personal experience, is often used disparagingly (thanks, Mum). People often criticise Thomas for his refusal to believe in Jesus’ resurrection without seeing the evidence first. But surely this is a very human reaction to something so momentous. Did not the other disciples react the same way? They refused to believe Mary Magdalene until they had seen the risen Christ in the flesh. Thomas only wanted to experience what the other 10 had already done. But they were only human: they were afraid; they were anxious; they doubted, even after Jesus revealed himself to them for the first time. Are we not the same today? A week after the celebrations and ‘alleluias’ of Easter Sunday, do the old fears and doubts begin to creep back in? We must remember that Jesus’ presence is a constant in our lives. He is revealed to us in every Mass, through the sacraments, and through the good words and deeds of our neighbours.