3rd Sunday of Easter
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
The first reading reveals that the Holy Spirit brings unity and power. The second reading shows us that belief in Jesus allows us to become God’s children. The Gospel lifts disciples out of fear into becoming mighty warriors of the Lord.
This week, practice loving God’s family members at home, school or work by doing something specific for them without taking any glory. The Holy Spirit will give you the power to do this. An example: clean up the kitchen for your spouse or parent or speak, and then listen, to someone with whom you do not really get along at school or work. Can others tell by the way you act that the Holy Spirit dwells within you?
- What was a helpful or a new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ ACTS 3:13-15, 17-19 FIRST READING (“Repent, therefore, and be converted,”)
- Who is speaking? To whom is he speaking? Who has glorified his servant, Jesus? Acts 3:12-13
- What did the people do to Jesus in Pilate’s presence, when Pilate was ready to release him? Acts 3:13
- What did Jesus say about whoever denies him? Matthew 10:33
- Whom did the people deny, and what did they ask to be done? Acts 3:14
- Whom did the people put to death? What did God do, and what are Peter and John? Acts 3:15
- Who will be Jesus’ witnesses, and what will they receive? Acts 1:8
- Out of what did the people act, just as their leaders had acted? Acts 3:17
- What did the people fulfill, and when did they hear this read? Acts 13:27
- What did God bring to fulfillment? Acts 3:18
- What must we do, and what will happen? Acts 3:19
- Whom does God demand to repent? Acts 17:30
Personal? – In what way are you denying Christ in your life? Do you see the power of the Holy Spirit working through you as you love those around you? If you do not see the power of God in your life, ask him to show you where the blockage is, and repent and believe.
THIRD DAY READ 1 JOHN 2:1-5 SECOND READING (“…whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him.”)
- Why is John writing? 1 John 2:1
- If anyone does sin, what do we have, and who is he? 1 John 2:1
- What has Jesus become, and what is he able to do? Hebrews 7:22, 25
- What has Jesus done for our sins, and to whom else does he do this? 1 John 2:2
- What is love? Who loves us? What did he do for us? 1 John 4:8, 10
- How are we sure of knowing Jesus? 1 John 2:3
- If we love Jesus, what will we do? John 14:15
- What is the one who says I know Jesus, but does not keep his commandments, and what is not in him? 1 John 2:4
- Who is a liar? 1 John 4:20
- In what is the one who keeps Jesus’ word perfected? 1 John 2:5
- What will the one who loves Jesus do, who will love him, and who will dwell with him? John 14:15-17, 23
Personal? – In what way have you kept the commandment of God today? Be specific. What can you do in your environment to improve the commandment to love others? How well do you really know God?
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 24:35-48 GOSPEL (“Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.”)
- What did the two recount about Jesus? Luke 24:30-31, 35
Personal? – How does Jesus reveal himself to you at Eucharist?
- While they were still speaking, what did Jesus do, and what did he say to them? Luke 24:36
- How did the disciples react, and what did they think they were seeing? Luke 24:37
- What two questions did Jesus ask? Luke 24:38
- What two things did he tell them to do, and what does a ghost not have? Luke 24:39
- As he said this, what did he show them? Luke 24:40
- How does God show his love for us, and what happened to all who touched Jesus? 1 John 4:9, Matthew 14:36
- What did Jesus ask them while they were still incredulous for joy and amazed? Luke 24:41
- What did they give Jesus, and what did he do with it? Luke 24:42-43
- Who ate and drank with Jesus after he rose from the dead? Acts 10:41
- What did Jesus say about the law, the prophets, and the Psalms? Luke 24:44
- What did Jesus tell his disciples, and what did they fail to comprehend? Luke 18:31-34
- To what did Jesus open their minds? Luke 24:45
Personal – When did you become open to the scriptures?
- What did Jesus say to them, and what would be preached in his name? Luke 24:46-47
- What did he say the disciples were? Luke 24:48
- Who will testify, and for what reason? John 15:26-27
Personal? – How long have you been with Jesus and how long has he been with you? And to what can you testify?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 4:2, 4, 7-9 (“You alone, O Lord, bring security to my dwelling.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 4: 2, 4, 7-9.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
ACTS 3:13-15, 17-19
Peter spoke out boldly to his audience, and he certainly knew how to share Jesus Christ. He presented his message very clearly to them in stating who Jesus Christ was and how they rejected him. He told them why their rejection was fatal, and what they needed to do to correct the situation. He told them what he would tell you and me today, and that is that we still have a choice. God is still offering us freedom and eternal life in Jesus Christ.
Peter challenged the people when he confronted them with “You disowned the Holy and Just One and you preferred instead the release of a murderer.” The crowd was made up of many people who were there or heard about the events in detail. Some of them probably even took part in condemning him. The confidence of the religious leaders was shaken when Peter told them that Jesus was alive again and that this time they could not harm him. Peter showed everyone in that crowd the significance of the resurrection, God’s power and triumph over death.
We all need to pray that we have the courage, like Peter, to see the opportunities to speak up for Christ. We create teachable moments when, by our actions, we show that Jesus is the Lord of our life. We may find that our audience is protesting against the injustice of abortion and pornography which is crippling the societies of many nations.
To speak out against the crowd and call for the teachings of Jesus Christ is not only courageous today, but in many areas very dangerous. The term servant comes to us from Isaiah 52:13, and the servant is the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ. He would be exalted because of his sacrifice which was to die for the sins of all people. We are all being called to be like Christ in his role as the suffering servant.
1 JOHN 2:1-5
John is speaking in a warm, fatherly way by addressing his audience as little children. We must remember that John was a very old man, and he had very many spiritual children. This reading is a tremendous comfort to people who are feeling full of guilt and condemnation. They know they have sinned and Satan is demanding the death penalty. We do not need to feel that way. In fact, the best defense attorney in the universe is pleading our case, Jesus Christ.
Our advocate is the judge’s son. He has already paid the price for our crimes, and we cannot be tried again for a case that is no longer on the docket. United with Christ is the ultimate of being safely protected. Do not be afraid to ask him to plead your case for he has already won it for you (Romans 8:33).
It is hard to put this kind of love and forgiveness into words. Can you imagine telling everyone that we would forgive them no matter what they had done? This is what God has done in Jesus. No one, absolutely no one, is beyond hope or forgiveness. All we have to do is turn to Jesus and commit our lives to him. We might ask, how can we be sure we belong to Christ? We need to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another.
The results of true Christian faith are in the behavior, not in the intentions or pious words (1 John 3:23). This is why John, the beloved old apostle, can call us children and can assure us that by our behavior we indeed belong to Jesus Christ.
Our Gospel today begins with the finishing of the story about how Jesus appeared to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Now Jesus appears to the disciples behind locked doors, and they were terribly frightened. They thought they were looking at a ghost, but Jesus’ body was not just a vision or a ghost. The disciples, in spite of their shock, touched him as he asked. Then he asked for some food, and they watched him eat. Now his body was different from that of someone like Lazarus, in that Lazarus had just a restored body (John 11). Jesus was able to appear and disappear, and his resurrected body was even more real than before. His body was immortal like the kind we will be given at the resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15:42-50).
For several days Jesus traveled around the countryside before he returned to heaven. In the Book of Acts, Luke makes it clear that Jesus spent about 40 days between his resurrection and ascension. Jesus opened the disciples’ minds to understand the scriptures.
The Holy Spirit does for us what was done for the apostles, and that is to speak to each one of us right where we are. We need to pray the scriptures as well as read and study them. God speaks to us through his church, sacraments, fellowship, and, of course, his Holy Word.
Pray that God will give you a teachable spirit and watch how his Holy Words strike you into action. Today a hunger and a thirst are upon the land like never before. Peace is just an empty, meaningless word to so many people. The only real peace that is available is the peace that comes with repentance and forgiveness. Jesus tells us that there is forgiveness of sins, but we have to turn to him. The message today to all people of all nations is to repent or perish.
The first reading tells us to have courage to speak out for Christ just as the apostles spoke out. The second reading reveals to us that Jesus is our defense lawyer and he has already won our case. The Gospel calls for all to call on his name and be witnesses to his penance and forgiveness.
This week look at your values and priorities. What is important to you? Where is God on that list? Think about how to put God first in each of your activities each day this week. Your example will cause others to repent and turn to the Lord.