by Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
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)
Jesus’ death brought us freedom from sin and death. We are now called to free others from sin and death here on earth. Some of us can do that by our professions as medical people, legal people, politicians, educators, business people, parents, and children.
This week, free someone in your family, home, or work from a chore that you know they don’t like. Let them see that joy in someone who really knows that he is free. Then each day have your family gather together to pray that all may become free from sin through Jesus Christ. Because of him, you are free. Let freedom ring throughout this land.
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or 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 2:42‑47 FIRST READING
(“The early Christians live a life of prayer and share all things in common.”)
- Those who were baptized were devoted to what four aspects of Christian living? Acts 2:42
- Why did a reverent “fear” overtake them? Acts 2:43
- What did it mean to live in common? Acts 2:44‑45
- How were goods and property divided? Acts 2:45
- In the earliest times, where did the Jewish Christians continue to go daily to pray and hear the Word of God? Acts 2:46
- Where did these Christians break bread and celebrate the Eucharist? Acts 2:46
- What was the condition of their hearts as they took their meals in common? Acts 2:46
- What two things were happening as they took their meals in common? Acts 2:47
- What was added, day by day, and by whom? Acts 2:47
Personal ‑ How have I been living out God’s presence in my life? Do I think of salvation as something very individual and private, or how does my view compare to this picture of the early church? How do I share my goods and feel about the lifestyle described here?
THIRD DAY READ 1 PETER 1:3‑9 SECOND READING
(“The people celebrate God’s gift of grace to the Gentiles.”)
- Who is to be praised, and for what reason? 1 Peter 1:3
- What does this birth give, and from what does it draw its life? 1 Peter 1:3
- On what is our hope fixed? 1 Timothy 4:10
- In the end, what three things last? 1 Cor 13:13
- What is incapable of fading or being defiled, where is it kept, and how is it guarded? 1 Peter 1:4‑5
- What three things does this new truth give, and when will this be revealed? 1 Peter 1:3‑5
- For what is there cause, what may you have to do, and for what reason? 1 Peter 1:6‑7
- Why do you rejoice with inexpressible joy touched with glory? 1 Peter 1:8
- What is faith’s goal? 1 Peter 1:9
Personal ‑ In what way have I been tested in my faith? How did my faith grow as a result?
FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 20:19‑31 GOSPEL
(“Jesus appears to the disciples in the room.”)
- Why had the disciples locked the door where they were staying? John 20:19
- What was Jesus’ greeting as he stood before the disciples? John 20:19 Compare it to his greeting in John 14:27
- What did Jesus show the disciples, and what was their re‑action? John 20:20
- At the apostles’ sight of him, what did Jesus say again; whom did he say sent him and, in turn, is sending them? John 20:21
- Jesus “breathed on them and said: ‘Receive the _________.” John 20:22
- After receiving the Holy Spirit, what authority did the disciples have regarding sin? John 20:23. What did Jesus say about forgiving sins? Luke 17:3‑4
Personal ‑ How does the life of Christ penetrate my daily life and actions? Does his greeting, “Peace be with you,” fill me with joy and peace or other emotions? Just as Jesus has sent his disciples out to the world, so also he sends me. By my baptism, I have received the Holy Spirit. How do I live out this commission in my everyday life?
- Who was absent when Jesus came to the disciples, and what did they tell Him they had seen? What was his response? John 20:24-25
- A week later, Jesus again came to them in the room. What was Jesus’ greeting to the disciples? John 20:26
- How did Jesus challenge Thomas to believe, and what was Thomas’ response? (Write it out.) John 20:27‑28
- Jesus blest Thomas because he and , and Jesus blessed all those “who have not and have _________.” How does this help to strengthen my faith? John 20:29
- How do these signs affect our faith? John 20:30‑31
Personal ‑ Just as Thomas came to believe through seeing and touching, how does Jesus invite me to faith in my life through sight and touch? When have I passed from fear or sadness to joy “at the sight of the Lord?”
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 118:2‑4, 13‑15, 22‑24
(“My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my Savior.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 118:2‑4, 13‑15, 22‑24.
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
This passage reveals a tremendous sense of love and commitment to one another. The Apostles gave their teachings about the life and events of Jesus Christ with a high degree of enthusiasm and authority. An apostle meant one who was an eyewitness to the ministry, passion, death, and resurrection of the Lord.
The fellowship between the followers and new converts was warm, strong, and incredibly joyful. The poor and needy were taken care of physically as well as in prayer. The hungry were being fed, the homeless were being sheltered, the naked were being clothed, and the lonely were being loved and affirmed. They ministered to outcasts in prisons or leper colonies.
There were many signs of God’s healing presence in the community. The bond between them was shared through their giving up of their personal pleasures in order that the community might be saved.
The core of this healing action by the community was Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, not through their own individual talent. Today, we need to remember that all we have that is good comes from our loving God. The people attended the temple and broke bread together in their homes.
Today, we are called to church to “celebrate.” We are celebrating the incredible victory that Jesus won for us by dying and rising for us. We share in the “Bread of Life” or “Eucharist.” At this celebration, we become nourished with the presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. We are then called to go out from the Church and “Eucharist” with all that we come into contact. We do this because he is wherever we are. (1 John 4:4).
1 PETER 1:3‑9
Today, St. Peter’s words remind us, once again, what that unique event, “the Resurrection,” means to us, and to the Christian Faith that we profess. The first converts to Christianity had grasped the truth of sharing eternal life with the Father because of what Jesus had done for all mankind. These people were in much pain, in much sorrow, and with no hope for their future. They grasped this truth about the Lord with a hunger and a thirst, and they rejoiced in it. We, too, have grasped this truth. We, too, know that through the Incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ, we also have been made heirs to the kingdom of our heavenly Father.
We need to reflect now and ask ourselves why so many people do not let this consoling Christian conviction govern and regulate their lives and actions. Our technology today is so sophisticated that it prevents many from thinking about the real and permanent Lawmaker. God is the Creator of all, and he has planned and is in control of all of our futures.
Many of us are so busy using and enjoying the earthly gifts of God that we forget and, in many cases, ignore the greatest gift of all ‑ the one that will last forever ‑ Eternal Life. St. Peter tells us that our Faith is more precious than gold and, like gold, it will be purified and tested under the fire of adversity. We are called “Easter people” because he is risen and lives within us. We are alive in Christ, and our Eternal Life with him begins today. Rejoice and be glad. He is alive and well within you, so you may be well, too.
The disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were terribly frightened that the soldiers were going to come and arrest them and, possibly, even put them to death. Fear for themselves and their families was deep in their hearts when Jesus appeared to them. In their fear, loneliness, rejection, and failure, Jesus makes the incredible statement, “Peace be unto you!” He showed them his wounds but most of all, he let them know that he was still among them. They were overcome with tremendous joy. Today, millions of people are behind locked doors; many are in prisons or hospitals, and many are trapped behind the locked door of a closed, broken mind. Jesus’ message to us today, regardless of where we are or what we are going through, is to remember that he is always with us.
Jesus identified himself with his Father and told the disciples by whose authority he did his work. Now he passed the job on to his disciples to spread the “Good News” around the world. God has chosen you to do that today, and your authority comes from him. Jesus has shown us by his words and actions how to accomplish the “Great Commission.” As the Father has sent Jesus, he now sends you with the protection and power of his Holy Spirit. He gives you that power by breathing upon you. There is life in the breath of God, and through the breath of Jesus, God directed eternal spiritual life. With this inbreathing came the power to do God’s will on earth. Jesus told them their mission, and it is the same mission that we must undertake. Tell the people about the “Good News” that Jesus has forgiven their sins. We do not have that power to forgive, but Jesus does. People of today cannot receive the message of forgiveness until they receive the one who forgives; his name is Jesus.
The first reading tells us that community is love in action. The second reading tells us that hope is eternal. The Gospel tells us to go out and spread the “Good News.”
This week, let us go forth and spread the Good News by our words and actions. Bring a Bible Study to someone who is confined to a home, hospital, or prison. Take a Scripture this week, such as love is kind (1 Corinthians 13:4), and practice it in your family, job, or school. Jesus’ message to the world is, “Peace be with you,” and he wants it to begin with you first.