Second Sunday of Easter

Today the reading is taken from St John’s Gospel: Jesus visits his disciples who are still full of fear. He forgives them, he comforts them and he sends them out to proclaim the Good Message. Very impressive given the situation that these men fled away from him some days ago. His words made such a deep impression that Thomas concluded that he was ‘My Lord and my God!’
This story is not recorded in Matthew’s Gospel. The painting which illustrates the reaction of the people at Jesus’ preaching might be a suitable replacement.

Mt 07:28
07:28  Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say, and his teaching made a deep impression on the people.


Jesus finishes his Sermon on the Mount. In that sermon he presented his interpretation of Law and Prophets, ‘Be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect’ (05:48) and, ‘Always treat others as you would like them to treat you’ (07:12).


Matthew’s Gospel contains five sermons of Jesus:
1. 05-07 The Sermon on the Mount
2. 10 The Sermon about Mission
3. 13 Parables about God’s Kingship
4. 18 The Sermon about Community Life
5. 24-25 Parables about the End of Times.

Every time Matthews closes these sermons in the same way, ‘And it happened, that when Jesus had completed...’ (07:28; 11:01; 13:53; 19:01; 26:01). Every time Matthew announces what ‘happened’ after Jesus’ words. His words become history, facts. In the Bible the word ‘and it happened’ (Greek: ‘kai egeneto’) is very important. It indicates that God’s words become history, facts; that He is writing his history through our every day history: Salvation History.
In this case God is writing his history by the fact that the people are impressed by Jesus’ words.
If I am impressed by Jesus’ words, then it is  God’s history, written in my life!

Picture Meditation

The main part of the picture is of Jesus, clothed in red, the colour of love. He gives structure to the picture by emphasising the diagonal from top left to bottom right.

His mouth is closed but his right hand is still speaking. What is this hand saying? So do his eyes. What are they saying?

Jesus is surrounded by nine persons: men, women and at least one child. All are turned in his direction except one, the young man in the foreground: he is looking in my direction (or in the direction of somebody at my left side?). With his left hand he seems to invite me to come nearer and with his right hand he makes a gesture in the direction of Jesus. I try to figure out what words he speaks to me.

Or am I already present in the picture somewhere? I try to identify myself with one of the pictured figures. Looking at his/her attitude, the gesture of the hands, the expression of the eyes: what is the feeling of the person I have chosen? What is he/she saying or praying...?

It is striking that each of these persons is clothed in a version of the red colour. As if the artist suggests that they all are coloured by Jesus’ words; by listening to Jesus all become people of love.
Is that true for me as well?

I finish with a dialogue with the person I have chosen; with Jesus.

Meditation by Fr Dries van den Akker S.J