Gospel and Readings 18.4.2021

Third Sunday of Easter

Lectionary: 47

Peter said to the people:
“The God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus,
whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence
when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One
and asked that a murderer be released to you.
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
Now I know, brothers,
that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;
but God has thus brought to fulfillment
what he had announced beforehand
through the mouth of all the prophets,
that his Christ would suffer.
Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”

Responsorial Psalm

R.  (7a) Lord, let your face shine on us.
or:
R.  Alleluia.
When I call, answer me, O my just God,
you who relieve me when I am in distress;
have pity on me, and hear my prayer!
R.  Lord, let your face shine on us.
or:
R.  Alleluia.
Know that the LORD does wonders for his faithful one;
the LORD will hear me when I call upon him.
R.  Lord, let your face shine on us.
or:
R.  Alleluia.
O LORD, let the light of your countenance shine upon us!
You put gladness into my heart.
R.  Lord, let your face shine on us.
or:
R.  Alleluia.
As soon as I lie down, I fall peacefully asleep,
for you alone, O LORD,
bring security to my dwelling.
R.  Lord, let your face shine on us.
or:
R.  Alleluia.

Reading II

My children, I am writing this to you
so that you may not commit sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous one.
He is expiation for our sins,
and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.
The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep
his commandments.
Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments
are liars, and the truth is not in them.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us;
make our hearts burn while you speak to us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way,
and how Jesus was made known to them
in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have.”
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of baked fish;
he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them,
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of Moses
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them,
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.”

REFLECTION

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” Luke 24:45–48 (Year B)

This was the final appearance to the disciples as recorded in Luke’s Gospel. In this appearance, Jesus showed the Apostles His hands and His feet, explained to them that He had to suffer, die and rise, as was foretold by the prophets. He exhorted them to be “witnesses of these things,” He explained that very soon the Holy Spirit would come from the Father, and then walked with them to Bethany where He ascended to Heaven. These, the final earthly words of Jesus, set forth the mission of these Apostles as well as the mission of all of us.

“You are witnesses of these things,” Jesus said. What things? The Apostles were to be witnesses to the Paschal Mystery: Jesus’ suffering, death and Resurrection. The proclamation of these truths are the central mission of Jesus’ Apostles and all of us.

How often do you think about the Paschal Mystery? Perhaps you have heard those words but do not fully understand what they are. What is the “Paschal Mystery?” The Paschal Mystery was what Jesus told the Apostles to be witnesses to. They were to be witnesses to others that Jesus came from the Father, suffered death for our sins, rose from the dead to conquer sin and then ascended into Heaven to invite us to follow. This is the most central message of our faith.

Sometimes our Christian faith can be treated more like a book of “do good lessons” than as the saving truths of our redemption. Though it’s essential to understand the moral laws and the call to charitable works, we must always remember that the heart of the Gospel is about salvation. It’s about Jesus dying for our sins and rising victorious so that we can enter the glories of Heaven. We do not enter Heaven simply because we are good people; rather, we are able to enter Heaven only because of the saving act of the Paschal Mystery. And though this saving act calls us to a life of charitable service to others, that charitable work is more of an effect of salvation than it is the central purpose of our faith.

The Gospel passage quoted above also says that Jesus “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” Therefore, if we, like the Apostles, are to understand the Gospel and the central purpose of Jesus’ life and our own lives, then we must allow Him to open our minds also. We must allow Jesus to reveal to us the Paschal Mystery, because it is not something we can comprehend or figure out on our own.

Reflect, today, upon how clearly you understand the purpose of the life of Christ. Do you understand the mysteries of His human life, suffering, death and Resurrection? Do you understand how these truths of our faith must change you at your very core? And do you understand your duty to be a witness to these mysteries of faith to others? Sit with these questions and allow them to sink in deeply so that you may join the Apostles in both the gift of redemption and the call to evangelize the world.

My saving Lord, Your life, death and Resurrection is the greatest gift ever given. Through this Paschal Mystery, we are set free from sin and become children of Your Father in Heaven. Open my mind to more fully understand this great gift and give me the grace I need to become Your witness to the world in need. Jesus, I trust in You.

From Catholic Daily refections.com