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2ND SUNDAY OF EASTER: : DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY (Cycle A)

The Octave of Easter is the eight days from Easter Sunday to the second Sunday of Easter, as the ancients counted, with Easter Sunday counting as day #1 and the Second Sunday of Easter counting as day #8 when Jesus appeared to the Apostles in the Upper Room a second time (Jn 20:26-29). During this 8-day period, the Church shared with us the Gospel stories of the Resurrection. Today is also celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday. It is a Solemnity inaugurated in the year 2000 by St. Pope John Paul II when he canonized St. Faustina Kowalska and declared the second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday. The Solemnity is based on the devotion to the Divine Mercy by Saint Faustina Kowalska from her reported visions and conversations with Christ. The day is associated with special promises from Jesus and indulgences issued by the Church.

Readings:
Acts 2:42-47
Psalms 118:3-4, 13-15, 22-24
1 Peter 1:3-9
John 20:19-31

All Scripture passages are from the New American Bible unless designated NJB (New Jerusalem Bible), IBHE (Interlinear Bible Hebrew-English), IBGE (Interlinear Bible Greek-English), or LXX (Greek Septuagint Old Testament translation). CCC designates a citation from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The word LORD or GOD rendered in all capital letters is, in the Hebrew text, God's Divine Name YHWH (Yahweh).

God's divine plan for mankind is revealed in the two Testaments and that is why we reread and relive the events of salvation history contained in the Old and New Testaments in the Church's Liturgy. The Catechism teaches that the Liturgy reveals the unfolding mystery of God's plan as we read the Old Testament in light of the New and the New Testament in light of the Old (CCC 1094-1095).

The Theme of this Sunday's Readings: Faith, Mercy, and Community
The covenant relationship we share with our Savior, Jesus Christ, is founded on fellowship within the Christian community through communion with each other and communion with the life of Christ the Redeemer in the Eucharist. A covenant relationship with the Most Holy Trinity also requires communicating with God through prayer, knowing the will of God through studying the Old Testament Scriptures and the New Testament teachings of Jesus Christ, and putting those teachings into practice through acts of mercy toward our brothers and sisters in the human family.

The First Reading describes the fellowship of the New Covenant community in Jerusalem. St. Luke, the inspired writer of Acts of the Apostles, tells us that there are three characteristics that identified the members of the Jerusalem faith community: they were devoted to hearing and putting into practice the teaching of the Apostles, they lived communally as a family, sharing their goods in common, and their religious life was centered on the Eucharistic. These are three characteristic that must be present in every faith community if it is to thrive spiritually.

In the Responsorial Psalm, we first hear the voice of a mysterious, unnamed king of Israel after God has led him to victory over his enemies. The king's victory is a manifestation of God's steadfast covenant love and faithfulness. Then the psalmist calls upon three different groups: the covenant people, the ministerial priesthood, and the faithful who are obedient to the Law and fear offending God. All are called upon to praise God for His mercy that endures forever. We recall this Psalm in the liturgy during Holy Week, Easter Sunday, and Easter Week because it is fulfilled in Jesus Christ our Savior and divine King to whom God gave victory over His enemies. We are the New Covenant people of Christ's Kingdom called to give God praise and glory! When we pray this psalm, we remember the Passion of the Christ and thank God for raising Him from the dead to rule all nations as King of kings and Lord of lords!

In the Second Reading, St. Peter offers praise to God the Father who he says is the source of mercy. Peter gives praise to God the Father for two benefits of His divine mercy: new birth to a "living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead," and the powerful security of our inheritance from Christ that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. All earthly treasures are subject to time and decay, but our divine inheritance cannot perish and will never lose its glory because it is kept in Heaven for us by God. Not only is our future inheritance in Heaven secure, but even now on earth we are safeguarded through our faith in Christ Jesus for a salvation that is already revealed which we will receive in all its fullness when Christ returns in glory.

In the Gospel Reading, Jesus comes to His Apostles supernaturally. Locked doors cannot stop Him. Jesus' greeting to the disciples is the customary greeting of the Jews of His time, "Peace be with you." These are the very words the priest uses, as he stands in "persona Christi," in the Person of Christ, as he greets the congregation at Mass. In His greeting, Jesus reassures the Apostles, who must have been feeling ashamed of their conduct after His arrest. With His greeting, He lovingly reestablished the intimacy they had previously enjoyed with Him. Jesus shows them His wounded hands and His pierced side to dispel any impression that they are seeing a ghost or imposter. They are truly seeing the risen, glorified body of Jesus the Messiah who breathes His spirit upon the leaders of His Kingdom of the Church and gives them the authority to make judgments in binding or forgiving sins.

Christ comes to His Church today as He came to them in the days and weeks after His Resurrection. He comes as Christ the Servant-King (Psalms Reading) to encourage us to faith and belief, just as He came to the Apostles in the Gospel Reading, and He comes to assure us, through the Sacrament of the Eucharist, of our promised salvation that is both a present and future reality (Second Reading).

The First Reading Acts 2:42-47 ~ True Christian Fellowship
42 They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.  43 Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.  44 All who believe were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one's need.  46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the Temple area and to braking bread in their homes.  They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and enjoying favor with all the people.  And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

St. Luke, the inspired writer of Acts of the Apostles, tells us that there are three characteristics that identified the members of the Jerusalem faith community.  See Acts 2:42-47 and CCC 949, 1329, 1342-43, 2624.

  1. They were devoted to hearing and putting into practice the teaching of the Apostles.
  2. They lived communally as a family, sharing their goods in common.
  3. Their religious life was centered on the Eucharistic: the "breaking of the bread" in Holy Communion.

You will recall that many members of the early faith community were from the Galilee in the north and had left their former occupations to follow Christ.  Those who lived in Jerusalem helped to support the Galileans and the poor who joined the community by selling property and material goods and sharing the money to support the fledgling Jerusalem church.  Although "breaking bread" suggests a typical Jewish meal in which the father or the one presiding over the meal broke the bread and pronounced a blessing before dividing the bread, for Christians it became the phrase to describe the Eucharistic meal and the Agape supper that came before the Eucharist.  At this point in the early Church the meal was celebrated in private homes, like the Upper Room (Acts 2:42, 46; 20:7, 11; 24:35; 1 Cor 10:16; 11:20-34; Didache, 9:3-4).  They still attended daily liturgy in the Temple since at this stage they did not see a dividing line between Old and New Covenant worship; to them Christ was simply the fulfillment of what came before.  Their faith was blessed by God through a daily increase in their numbers until one day the small community in Jerusalem had spread the Gospel of salvation to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial Psalm 118:3-4, 13-15, 22-24 ~ God's Mercy Endures Forever
The response is: "Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting." Or "Alleluia."
2 Let the house of Israel say, "His mercy endures forever."  3 Let the house of Aaron say, "His mercy endures forever."  4 Let those who fear the LORD say, "His mercy endures forever."
Response
13 I was hard pressed and was falling, but the LORD helped me.  14 My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior.  15 The joyful shout of victory in the tents of the just:
Response
22 The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.  23 By the LORD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.  24 This is the day the LORD has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.
Response

Psalm 118 is the last psalm of the Hallel (literally "Praise God") Psalms.   Psalms 113-117 recount the Exodus liberation and Israel's gratitude as a people and as individuals for God's mercy in redeeming them from slavery in Egypt.  However, Psalm 118 is not in the same theme as the other psalms of the Hallel.  Psalm 118 is the voice of a mysterious, unnamed king of Israel after God has led him to victory over his enemies.  The king's victory is a manifestation of God's steadfast covenant love and faithfulness.  The covenant community is addressed in verse 2.  First the psalmist calls upon "the house of Israel," referring to the covenant people as a whole, and then within the community the psalmist calls upon the "house of Aaron," referring the Aaronic ministerial priesthood, and then finally to "those who fear the LORD," the faithful who are obedient to the Law and fear offending God.  All are called upon to praise God for His mercy that endures forever.

Then in verses 13-15, the king is in distress, but Yahweh has come to his rescue.  He urges the righteous to sing songs of victory to God for his salvation.  Finally, in verses 22-24, in their acclamation of Yahweh's works on behalf of His servant the king, the covenant community acknowledges that God has established a new order through the victory won by His king.  The king is compared to a "cornerstone" (foundation stone) of the new order that was rejected by those "builders" who attacked him but now, because of the Lord God, the king rules over them in victory.

We recall this Psalm in the liturgy during the Holy Week, Easter Sunday, and Easter Week because it is fulfilled in Jesus Christ our Savior and divine King.  He is the king who was the "cornerstone" rejected by the "builders" that St. Peter identified as the Old Covenant religious authorities (see Acts 4:11 and 1 Pt 2:4-8).  Jesus is God's servant-king to whom God gave victory over His enemies when Jesus emerged triumphant from the grave!  The Jewish crowd chanted Psalm 118:26 when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and Jesus applied this psalm to Himself in His teaching during His last week in Jerusalem (Mt 21:9, 42; Lk 19:38).  When we pray this psalm, we remember the Passion of the Christ and thank God for raising Him from the dead to rule all nations as King of kings and Lord of lords!

The Second Reading 1 Peter 1:3-9 ~ God's Mercy Demonstrated
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, 5 kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.  6 In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  8 Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9 as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

In his letter to the universal Church, St. Peter offers praise to God the Father who he says is the source of mercy.  In verse 3, Peter offers a blessing which in the Jewish tradition is called a "berakah" (literal Hebrew = "blessing").  It is a blessing acknowledging God's mercy as the basis for the New Covenant made through the redemptive work of God the Son in God's divine plan for mankind's salvation.  Speaking of God's mercy as the foundation for the blessings received in the New Covenant in Christ, we can appreciate that there is a continuity of the works of God's mercy in the Old Testament that is fulfilled in the redemptive work of Jesus our Redeemer-Messiah. 

In verses 3-5, St. Peter gives praise to God the Father for two benefits of His divine mercy:

  1. A new birth to a "living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."  The Resurrection of Christ is the cause and source of our new birth into God's New Covenant family.
  2. The powerful security of our inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.  All earthly treasures are subject to time and decay, but our divine inheritance cannot perish and will never lose its glory because it is kept in heaven for us by God. 

However, these gifts and blessings do not keep us from experiencing suffering and persecution that is a test of our faith (verse 6).  Even so, we should have no fear because in this temporary life we are protected by faith in the power of God.  Not only is our future inheritance in heaven secure, but even now on earth we are safeguarded through our faith in Christ Jesus for a salvation that is already revealed. 

St. Peter is referring to the Second Advent of Christ (verse 7).  "Salvation" is the general term that Peter uses as the sum of all that we receive in Christ.  It refers to our present state as new creatures in Christ that comes through faith and the Sacrament of Christian Baptism but also points to our future destiny that is ours when Christ returns.  Peter's point is that our salvation is both present and future.  It is something we have already through faith and Baptism, but our salvation will be completed only when Christ comes again at the end of time (CCC 163).

The Gospel of John 20:19-31 ~ Living Faith
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you."  20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.  The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you."  22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them.  "Receive the Holy Spirit.  23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins your retain are retained."
24 Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.  25 So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord."  But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."
26 Now a week later [eight days later] his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them.  Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you."  27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe [become not unbelieving]."  28 Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!"  29 Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."
30 Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book.  31 But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name. [..] = literal translation IBGE, vol. IV, pages 316-17.

It is Sunday afternoon; it is the eighth day since Resurrection Sunday as the ancients counted without the concept of zero-place-value.  The "evening" time of the day is toward the close of the day.  The next day for the Jews begins at sundown, so evening is in the mid-to-late afternoon.  The time is probably about 3 PM, the time of the third hour of prayer.

The disciples are afraid for their lives because the Sanhedrin may arrest them, try them for blasphemy, and arrange to have them condemned to death just as they condemned Jesus.  It is significant that Jesus comes to them supernaturally.  Locked doors cannot stop Him.   Jesus' greeting to the disciples is the customary greeting of the Jews.  These are the very words the priest uses, as he stands in "persona Christi," in the Person of Christ, as he greets the congregation. 

Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you."  20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.  The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 
In this greeting, Jesus has reassured the Apostles and disciples, who must have been feeling ashamed of their conduct after His arrest.  He has lovingly reestablished the intimacy they had previously enjoyed with Him.  He shows them His wounded hands and His pierced side to dispel any impression that they are seeing a ghost or imposter.  They are truly seeing the risen, glorified body of Jesus Himself.  Incidentally, for those concerned with the question of whether the nails were in Jesus' hands or wrists, Fr. Brown points out in his commentary that both the Greek and Hebrew words for "hand" includes the wrist as part of the hand (Raymond Brown, The Gospel Accroding to John, vol. II).

John 20:21-23 ~ Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you."  22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them.  "Receive the Holy Spirit.  23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins your retain are retained."
This act of the Christ is the ordination of the Magisterium of the Church.  As God the Father sent Jesus into the world, so will Jesus will send the Apostles out into the world with the power and the authority of God the Father.

"Receive the Holy Spirit" in the Greek text the article is missing.  Some scholars suggest the missing article indicates that in this case Jesus' breath was not the giving of the personal Holy Spirit, as they would receive with the rest of the New Covenant Church at the Feast of Pentecost 50 days later, but was instead an "effusion" of His Spirit.  However, the question remains why does Jesus breathe on them?  What is the significance of this act?  The answer is found in the passage when God breathed upon man in the first creation.  In Hebrew and in Greek, the word for "breath" is the same word as "spirit." God first breathed into Adam to give him physical life and now Christ breathes His Spirit into the Apostles to give them spiritual life.  He is sending them forth, in the power of the Holy Spirit, who will make all things "new" again just as He did in the first creation (see Gen 1:2).  The prophet Ezekiel envisioned this day when he wrote of the Messianic restoration of Israel: He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man.  Say to the breath, 'the Lord Yahweh says this: come from the four winds, breath; breathe on these dead, so that they come to life!'" I prophesied as he had ordered me, and the breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet, a great, an immense army (Ez 37:9-10 NJB).  Man, formally dead to sin, has been resurrected in Christ.  This faithful remnant of the Old Israel has become the nucleus of the New Israel, the New Covenant universal [catholic] Church that will become an immense army of disciples converting the world through the spread of the Gospel.

John 20:23 ~ "Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins your retain are retained."
The Sacraments of the Church are visible signs instituted by Christ to confer grace.  Jesus is instituting the Sacrament of Penance [Reconciliation].  Under the Old Covenant, the sinner placed his hands on the animal, confesses his sins before the priest, and the animal died in his place.  Now Christ is the Lamb of sacrifice, but we still must have confession and repentance before sins can be forgiven and communion with God restored.  Through Jesus' actions in verses 22-23, the priests of the New Covenant carry the Son of God's authority to forgive or retain sins.  The concept of private confession of sins has never been a part of the sacramental system of the Old or New Covenant. Even though it is a healthy spiritual practice to confess our shortcomings to God in our daily prayers, it is necessary to bring those venial sins before the Lord in the Penitential rite of the Mass in order to receive forgiveness through the Eucharist, and any mortal sins must be confessed to an ordained priest of the New Covenant Church, who is a successor of the Apostles as the first ministerial priesthood in Christ, to whom we confess as though we are confessing to Christ Himself.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that Jesus is the physician of our souls and our bodies.  He both healed the sick and forgave their sins and He has willed His Church, in the power of God the Holy Spirit, to continue His work of healing and salvation.  In the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation, the sinner places himself before the merciful judgment of God who heals and purifies hearts and souls.  CCC# 1422: "Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God's mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion."  Also see CCC# 1423-1498.

So you may ask the question, how do we really know Jesus meant for us to confess to a human priest and not just to Him?  You will agree that in verse 22, in speaking to the Apostles, Jesus has given the Church the power to forgive individual sins and the power to retain individual sins.  How can the Church exercise this power to make decisions about particular sins unless those sins are openly confessed to Christ through His priesthood?  We have to specifically confess specific sins!

John 20:24-25 ~ Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.  25 So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord."  But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."
Here John refers to the "Twelve" as a "perfect unity" even though there are only eleven at this point.  Poor St. Thomas is always remembered for his remark in verse 25 which must have come from his discouragement and his fear.  He seems not to be remembered for his courageous statement in John 11:16 when he declared he was prepared to die with Jesus, and one day he would indeed keep that vow as he died a martyr's death for love of his Savior.  According to Church history, St. Thomas was martyred at the altar of his Church in India.  He had faithfully carried the Gospel to what was then the end of the earth!

How many times have we been guilty of the same unbelief when we reject the teaching of Mother Church in favor of secular values and morals?  How many Catholics in government have stated that Church must be separated from State and since the law of the land allows abortion how can they stand against it?  Do they need to see the nails in His hands?  How many of us question the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist or the perpetual virginity of His blessed mother?  Do we need to see the wound in His side?  To believe in the name of Jesus Christ is to accept all that He taught and to be obedient to the teaching of His Church.  There is no such animal as a "liberal Catholic."  Liberal and conservative are political terms.  There are orthodox, true doctrine Catholics, or there are failed Catholics.  Catholicism is not a cafeteria style religion.  It is an all or nothing religion.  Place your finger in His wounds and like Thomas cry out "My Lord and My God!

John 20:26-28 ~  Now a week later [eight days later] his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them.  Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you."  27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe."  28 Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!"  The literal Greek in verse 27 is "become not unbelieving."
It is 8 days from the previous Sunday which was Resurrection Sunday; see Jn 20:19.  The 7th day of Creation was Saturday.  Sunday is both the first and the eighth day.  The number 8 in the symbolism of numbers represented salvation, regeneration and redemption.  It became the number of the New Covenant people.  All early churches were built 8 sided; this includes the early church that was formed at Peter's house in Capernaum and all the Byzantine Churches of the 4th-6th centuries.  Whenever archaeologists find an ancient foundation that has 8 sides they know they have found a Christian Church marking a holy site associated with Christ.

Jesus' entry into the room is similar to His entry a week earlier.  He did not use the doors to enter.  This testimony proves that Jesus was not prematurely pronounced dead and later revived.  He is not bound by the laws of physics!  The literal Greek "become not unbelieving" in verse 27 gives us a better sense of Thomas' spiritual condition.  He had not yet fallen into unbelief but his doubt about the Resurrection has put him in danger of falling.  Thomas responds to Jesus' challenge by acknowledging Jesus as his Lord and his God.  The literal translation is "the Lord of me and the God of me."  Both Peter and Thomas knew how to humble themselves in sincere repentance.  Judas was lost because he would not repent and turn back to Christ.  Thomas' profession of faith is one of the strongest statements affirming the deity of Jesus in Sacred Scripture.

John 20:29 ~  Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."
In Hebrews 11:1, the inspired writer tells us that Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen....   Thomas' faith would have had more merit if he had accepted the testimony of the other Apostles instead of the exceptional proof he received through seeing and touching Jesus' wounds.  St. Paul wrote to the Church in Rome: So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes from the preaching of Christ (Rom 10:17 NJB).  It is that same preaching of Jesus Christ that is passed from the Apostles down to us in the Church today and to which we are bound.  When we accept that testimony of Christ that has been passed down to us, we must not only believe but we must practice what we believe.  Jesus' statement "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed" is a benediction our Lord has pronounced on all the future generations of believers!

John 20:30-31 ~ Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book.  31 But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
John's statement in verse 30 suggests that there are other miraculous signs that are not recorded in this book but in other books.  It is significant that St. John uses the word "signs" instead of "miracles."  The use of "signs" is been a major theme in the Gospel of St. John.  Jesus performed supernatural acts that had a greater significance beyond the miracle.  Each miracle was a sign that pointed to a theological truth and John has built his Gospel around seven theologically significant public signs that point to Jesus' divinity and His claim that He is the Messiah:

The Seven Public Signs of Jesus in St. John's Gospel:
#1  2:1-11 The sign of water turned to wine at the wedding at Cana
#2  4:46-54 The healing of the official's son
#3  5:1-9 The healing of the paralytic
#4  6:1-14 The multiplication of the loaves to feed the 5,000
#5  9:1-41 The healing of the man who was born blind
#6  11:17-44 The raising of Lazarus from the dead
#7  20:1-10 The Resurrection of Jesus

Jesus performed 8 miracles in John's Gospel, 6 of which are not recorded in the Synoptic Gospels.  The 8th miracle is a private revelation of His divinity for the Apostles when Jesus walked on the water of the Sea of Galilee and calmed the storm.  Jesus' final, and most significant public "sign" of His divinity is of course, His Resurrection, the key event of Christian faith:

  1. It is the fulfillment of His promise that He would rise from the dead, therefore verifying that everything He told us about Himself is true.  He is the eternal Son of God and we can be confident, therefore, that He will accomplish everything else that He has promised. 
  2. Jesus' bodily Resurrection provides us with the evidence that He is the living Christ, not just a false prophet, or a ghost, or an imposter.  He is the ruler of God's eternal kingdom.
  3. We are assured of our own bodily resurrection.  Death is not the end; Jesus has given us the promise of eternal life.
  4. Jesus' divine power that has brought Him back to life is now available to us supernaturally by bringing our spiritually dead selves back to life in Christ. 
  5. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the basis for the Church's witness to the world that Jesus is exactly who He says He is and that He can fulfill all He has promised!

"Finally, Christ's Resurrection, and the risen Christ Himself, is the principle and source of our future resurrection: 'Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep...for as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.'  The risen Christ lives in the hearts of His faithful while they await that fulfillment.  In Christ, Christians 'have tasted...the powers of the age to come' and their lives are swept up by Christ into the heart of divine life, so that they may 'live no longer for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.'
CCC 655

Catechism References:
Acts 2:42-47 (CCC 2178); 2:42 (CCC 1329, 1342, 2624); 2:46 (CCC 584, 1329, 1342) 2:47 (CCC 2640)
Psalms 118:22-24 (CCC 587, 756)
1 Peter 1:3-9 (CCC 2627); 1:3 (CCC 654); 1:7 (CCC 1031)
John 20:19 (CCC 575, 643, 645, 659); 20:20 (CCC 645); 20:21-23 (CCC 1087, 1120, 1441); 20:21 (CCC 730, 858); 20:22-23 (CCC 976, 1485); 20:22 (CCC 730, 788, 1287, 862, 888, 890); 20:23 (CCC 1461, 2839); 20:24-27 (CCC 644); 20:26 (CCC 645, 659); 20:27 (CCC 645); 20:28 (CCC 448); 20:30 (CCC 514); 20:31 (CCC 442, 514)