5th Week of Lent Psalter: Week 1
Dn 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56 Glory and praise for ever!
1st Reading: Dn 3:14–20, 91–92, 95* King Nebuchadnezzar questioned them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden statue I have set up? … If you won’t you know the punishment: you will immediately be thrown into a burning furnace. … Nebuchadnezzar’s face reddened with fury. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of his strongest soldiers to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the burning furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar suddenly rose up in great amazement and asked his counselors, “Did we not throw three men bound into the fire?” They answered, “Certainly.” The king said, “But I can see four men walking about freely through the fire without suffering any harm, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who sent his angel to free his servants.” Gospel: Jn 8:31–42* Jesus went on to say to the Jews who believed in him: “You will be my true disciples if you keep my word. Then you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” They answered him, “We are the descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves of anyone. What do you mean by saying: You will be free?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave. But the slave doesn’t stay in the house forever; the son stays forever. So, if the Son makes you free, you will be really free. … They answered him, “Our father is Abraham.” Then Jesus said, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do as Abraham did. But now you want to kill me. That is not what Abraham did; what you are doing are the works of your father.” The Jews said to him, “We are not illegitimate children; we have one Father, God.” Jesus replied, “If God were your Father you would love me, for I came forth from God, and I am here. And I didn’t come by my own decision, but it was he himself who sent me.”
piritually, all of humankind serves one of two masters; everyone is either a slave of God or a slave of the devil. How are we to be set free from the slavery of sin and hell? The answer is that we must believe in Christ. Realize that slavery to sin brings about our spiritual death and only Christ can set us free. We depend upon Christ to do what He has promised to do. To believe in Christ is to depend on Him, with hope and trust, to save us from sin and hell. It is not simply about having knowledge of Christ, but should be the daily decision we make to trust Him and walk hand-in-hand with Him through life.
1st Reading: Gen 17:3–9 Abram fell face down and God said to him, “This is my covenant with you: you will be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer will you be called Abram, but Abraham, because I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you more and more famous; I will multiply your descendants; nations shall spring from you, kings shall be among your descendants. And I will establish a covenant, an everlasting covenant between myself and you and your descendants after you; from now on I will be your God and the God of your descendants after you, for generations to come. I will give to you and your descendants after you the land you are living in, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession and I will be the God of your race.” God said to Abraham, “For your part, you shall keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you, generation after generation.
5th Week of Lent Francis of Paola Psalter: Week 1
Ps 105:4–5, 6–7, 8–9 The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
Gospel: Jn 8:51–59 Jesus said to the Jews, “Truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never experience death.” The Jews replied, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died and the prophets as well, but you say: ‘Whoever keeps my word will never experience death.’ Who do you claim to be? Do you claim to be greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets also died.” Then Jesus said, “If I were to praise myself, it would count for nothing. But he who gives glory to me is the Father, the very one you claim as your God, although you don’t know him. I know him and if I were to say that I don’t know him, I would be a liar like you. But I know him and I keep his word. As for Abraham, your ancestor, he looked forward to the day when I would come; and he rejoiced when he saw it.” The Jews then said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” And Jesus said “Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” They then picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and left the Temple.
esus made a series of claims, which were at the heart of his life and mission. His claims challenged the very foundation of the Pharisees’ belief and understanding of God. First, he claimed unique knowledge of God. He claimed that the only way to full knowledge of the mind and heart of God was through himself. He also claimed total obedience to God. In Jesus alone we see what God wants us to know and what He wants us to be. Jesus was not just a man who came, lived, died, and then rose again. He is the immortal timeless one, who always was and always will be. In Jesus, we see the eternal God in visible flesh. His death and rising make it possible for us to share in his eternal life. We must ask of ourselves whether or not we live in the hope and joy of the resurrection. Oftentimes, those who are deaf to the praises of the world, have to bear its contempt. But we need never worry: God seeks the honor of all those, who do not seek their own. We should always be unafraid to profess steadfastly all we know and believe concerning Christ.
03 April friday
5th Week of Lent Psalter: Week 1
Ps 18:2–3a, 3bc–4, 5–6, 7 In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
1st Reading: Jer 20:10–13 I hear many people whispering, “Terror is all around! Denounce him! Yes, denounce him!” All my friends watch me to see if I will slip: “Perhaps he can be deceived,” they say; “then we can get the better of him and have our revenge.” But Yahweh, a mighty warrior, is with me. My persecutors will stumble and not prevail; that failure will be their shame and their disgrace will never be forgotten. Yahweh, God of hosts, you test the just and probe the heart and mind. Let me see your revenge on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause. Sing to Yahweh! Praise Yahweh and say: he has rescued the poor from the clutches of the wicked! Gospel: Jn 10:31–42 The Jews picked up stones to throw at Jesus; so he said, “I have openly done many good works among you which the Father gave me to do. For which of these do you stone me?” The Jews answered, “We are not stoning you for doing a good work but for insulting God; you are only a man and you make yourself God.” Then Jesus replied, “Is this not written in your Law: I said: you are gods? So those who received this word of God were called gods and the Scripture is always true. Then what should be said of the one anointed and sent into the world by the Father? Am I insulting God when I say: ‘I am the Son of God’? “If I am not doing the works of my Father, do not believe me. But if I do them, even if you have no faith in me, believe because of the works I do, and know that the Father is in me and I in the Father.” Again they tried to arrest him, but Jesus escaped from their hands. He went away again to the other side of the Jordan, to the place where John had baptized, and there he stayed. Many people came to him and said, “John showed no miraculous signs, but he spoke of this man and everything he said was true.” And many became believers in that place.
esus was a human being and was also God. Never was it that he ceased to be who he always was. When he was in Mary’s womb, he was God. When he was a baby boy lying in the manger, he was God. When he was a youngster growing up in Nazareth, he was God. And when he was dying, he was God. Then again, how could Jesus be a perfect example of humanity if he wasn’t tempted exactly as we are? Yet he never gave into temptation. If a person yields to temptation he has not felt its full power, but has given in while he has yet more to resist. Only one who has prevailed against temptation and remained sinless knows the full extent of temptation. Jesus said he didn’t have the ability to perform supernatural works on his own. He could only exercise the attributes of divinity in submission to the will of God. Time and again, Jesus declared that the works he did were not his own, and he pointed to the works as proof that he had been sent from God. And that should be more than good enough for us.
1st Reading: Ezk 37:21–28* You will then say to them: Thus says Yahweh, “I am about to withdraw the Israelites from where they were among the nations. I shall gather them from all around and bring them back to their land. I shall make them into one people on the mountains of Israel and one king is to be king of them all. They will no longer form two nations or be two separate kingdoms, nor will they defile themselves again with their idols, their detestable practices and their sins. … They will settle in the land I gave to my servant Jacob where their ancestors lived. There they will live forever, their children and their children’s children. David my servant will be their prince forever. I shall establish a covenant of peace with them, an everlasting covenant. … I shall be their God and they will be my people. Then the nations will know that I am Yahweh who makes Israel holy, having my sanctuary among them forever.”
5th Week of Lent Isidore Psalter: Week 1
Jer 31:10, 11–12abcd, 13 The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.
Gospel: Jn 11:45–56* Many of the Jews who had come with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw what he did; but some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees called the Sanhedrin Council. They said, “What are we to do? For this man keeps on giving miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, all the people will believe in him and, as a result of this, the Romans will come and sweep away our Holy Place and our nation.” Then one of them, Caiaphas, who was High Priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all nor do you see clearly what you need. It is better to have one man die for the people than to let the whole nation be destroyed.” … Because of this, Jesus no longer moved about freely among the Jews. He withdrew instead to the country near the wilderness and stayed with his disciples in a town called Ephraim. The Passover of the Jews was at hand and people from everywhere were coming to Jerusalem to purify themselves before the Passover. They looked for Jesus and as they stood in the Temple, they talked with one another, “What do you think? Will he come to the festival?”
here can hardly be any more clear example of the madness in the heart of sinners, or of their desperate enmity towards God, than what is recorded here. It is a fact of life that, whenever people seek to escape calamity by committing sin, they end up bringing calamity down upon their own heads. Goodness always wins out in the end; and the madness of the wicked always comes back to haunt them. That is exactly what happened with the Pharisees after the suffering and death of Jesus. We may be horrified that anyone would go to such limits to silence someone, who has pointed out faults or who has called them to repentance; but the truth is that sometimes we also avoid confrontation with the truth. It may be that we go to great lengths to avoid feeling the pangs of conscience. We should now renew our repentance and allow ourselves to feel the anguish that Jesus felt in knowing what pain lay ahead for him in the manner of his passion and death.
1st Reading: Is 50:4–7 The Lord Yahweh has taught me so I speak as his disciple and I know how to sustain the weary. Morning after morning he wakes me up to hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord Yahweh has opened my ear. I have not rebelled, nor have I withdrawn. I offered my back to those who strike me, my cheeks to those who pulled my beard; neither did I shield my face from blows, spittle and disgrace. I have not despaired, for the Lord Yahweh comes to my help. So, like a flint I set my face, knowing that I will not be disgraced. 2nd Reading: Phil 2:6–11 Though being divine in nature, Christ Jesus did not claim in fact equality with God, but emptied himself, taking on the nature of a servant, made in human likeness, and in his appearance found as a man. He humbled himself by being obedient to death, death on the cross. That is why God exalted him and gave him the Name which outshines all names, so that at the Name of Jesus all knees should bend in heaven, on earth and among the dead, and all tongues proclaim that Christ Jesus is the Lord to the glory of God the Father. Gospel: Mt 27:11–54* Jesus stood before the governor who questioned him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “You say so.” … Pilate said to him, “Do you hear all the charges they bring against you?” But he did not answer even a single question, so that the governor wondered. It was customary for the governor to release any prisoner the people asked for on the occasion of the Passover. … As the people had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Whom do you want me to set free: Barabbas, or Jesus called the Messiah?” … The chief priests and the Elders stirred the crowds to ask for the release of Barabbas and the death of Jesus. When the governor asked them again, “Which of the two do you want me to set free?” they answered, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “And what shall I do with Jesus called the Messiah?” All answered, “Crucify him!” Pilate insisted, “What evil has he done?” But they shouted louder, “Crucify him!” Pilate asked for water and washed his hands
Ps 22:8–9, 17–18, 19–20, 23–24 My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? before the people, saying, “I am not responsible for his blood. It is your doing.” And all the people answered, “Let his blood be upon us and upon our children.” Then Pilate set Barabbas free, but had Jesus scourged, and handed him over to be crucified. The Roman soldiers took Jesus into the palace. They stripped him and dressed him in a purple military cloak. Then, twisting a crown of thorns, they forced it onto his head, and placed a reed in his right hand. They mocked him, saying, “Long life to the King of the Jews!” They spat on him, took the reed from his hand and struck him on the head with it. When they had finished mocking him, they pulled off the purple cloak and dressed him in his own clothes again, and led him out to be crucified. On the way they met a man from Cyrene called Simon, and forced him to carry the cross of Jesus.
When they reached the place called Golgotha (or Calvary) which means the Skull, they offered him wine mixed with gall. Jesus tasted it but would not take it. There they crucified him and divided his clothes among themselves, casting lots to decide what each should take. The statement of his offense was displayed above his head and it read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” They also crucified two bandits with him, one on his right and one on his left. People passing by shook their heads and insulted him, saying, “Aha! So you will destroy the Temple and build it up again in three days. Now save yourself and come down from the cross, if you are Son of God.” In the same way the chief priests, the Elders and the teachers of the Law mocked him. They said, “The man who saved others cannot save himself. Let the King of Israel now come down from his cross and we will believe in him.” Even the robbers who were crucified with him insulted him. From midday darkness fell over the whole land until mid-afternoon. At about three o’clock, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lamma Sabbacthani?” which means: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? As soon as they heard this, some of the bystanders said, “He is calling for Elijah.” And one of them went quickly, took a sponge and soaked it in vinegar and, putting it on a reed, gave him to drink.” Then Jesus cried out again in a loud voice and gave up his spirit. Just then the curtain of the Temple sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and several holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after the resurrection of Jesus, entered the Holy City and appeared to many. The captain and the soldiers who guarded Jesus were greatly terrified when they saw the earthquake and all that had happened, and said, “Truly, this man was a Son of God.”
Passion (Palm) Sunday Psalter: Week 2
he man greeted at the gates of Jerusalem with palm branches knew that He was to face the most agonizing week of His life. Cheers would yield to cries for His condemnation, and salutes of honor would give way to buffets and spitting. And all of us are responsible. The palm branches we hold in our hands and place in our homes today remind us that we are called to make a profound decision about the Lord Jesus each and every day of our lives, namely, to follow Him or to mock Him, to serve Him or to ignore Him. Too often our busy and hectic lives spin out of control and we neglect our relationship with Jesus. We think other things or people are more important than Him, and we act as though His teachings are not the least bit important to our everlasting happiness. Sadly, we fail to learn not only from our own mistakes, but from the incredibly generous selfoffering of Jesus upon the cross. Take home the palm branches from church and place them in a place of honor, and do not neglect to think about their meaning each and every day.
06 April monday
Monday, Holy Week Psalter: Week 2
Ps 27:1, 2, 3, 13–14 The Lord is my light and my salvation.
1st Reading: Is 42:1–7* Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight. I have put my spirit upon him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He does not shout or raise his voice … . A broken reed he will not crush, nor will he snuff out the light of the wavering wick. He will make justice appear in truth. … Thus says God, Yahweh, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread the earth and all that comes from it, who gives life and breath to those who walk on it: I, Yahweh, have called you for the sake of justice; I will hold your hand to make you firm; I will make you as a covenant to the people, and as a light to the nations, to open eyes that do not see, to free captives from prison, to bring out to light those who sit in darkness. Gospel: Jn 12:1–11 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where he had raised Lazarus, the dead man, to life. Now they gave a dinner for him, and while Martha waited on them, Lazarus sat at the table with Jesus. Then Mary took a pound of costly perfume made from genuine nard and anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair. And the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. Judas, son of Simon Iscariot—the disciple who was to betray Jesus—remarked, “This perfume could have been sold for three hundred silver coins and turned over to the poor.” Judas, indeed, had no concern for the poor; he was a thief and as he held the common purse, he used to help himself to the funds. But Jesus spoke up, “Leave her alone. Was she not keeping it for the day of my burial? (The poor you always have with you, but you will not always have me.)” Many Jews heard that Jesus was there and they came, not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests thought about killing Lazarus as well, for many of the Jews were drifting away because of him and believing in Jesus.
hat is the significance of the woman washing Jesus’ feet with her hair? By acquiring expensive perfume, anointing his feet and wiping them with her hair, she displayed devotion and humility to the one she loved deeply and sincerely. God places a premium on humility and love. As Mary poured on Jesus the oil of humility, let us pour on him the ointment of our best affections, our faith, hope and love. The chief priests resolved that the man, whom Jesus had raised to life, should die. Lazarus’ very presence was a cold slap in the face to them. How could they deny that Jesus was the Messiah, when he had raised a man from the dead? They couldn’t dismiss this event as a trick. Even today, Christianity can make wicked men so angry, that they act as if they hoped to win a victory over God, Himself. But, when things look their blackest, when we are most under attack, our faith, hope and love will always be victorious over the kind of hate and prejudice, as swirled around Jesus till the day he died.
1st Reading: Is 49:1–6 Listen to me, O islands, pay attention, peoples from distant lands. Yahweh called me from my mother’s womb; he pronounced my name before I was born. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword. He hid me in the shadow of his hand. He made me into a polished arrow set apart in his quiver. He said to me, “You are Israel, my servant, Through you I will be known.” “I have labored in vain,” I thought and spent my strength for nothing.” Yet what is due me was in the hand of Yahweh, and my reward was with my God. I am important in the sight of Yahweh, and my God is my strength. … He said: “It is not enough that you be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob, to bring back the remnant of Israel. I will make you the light of the nations, that my salvation will reach to the ends of the earth.”
Tuesday, Holy Week Psalter: Week 2
Ps 71:1–2, 3–4a, 5ab–6ab, 15 and 17 I will sing of your salvation.
Gospel: Jn 13:21–33, 36–38* Jesus was distressed in spirit and said plainly, “Truly, one of you will betray me.” The disciples then looked at one another, wondering who he meant. … And the disciple who was reclining near Jesus asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “I shall dip a piece of bread in the dish, and he to whom I give it, is the one.” So Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And as Judas took the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus then said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” … Judas left as soon as he had eaten the bread. It was night. Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. God will glorify him, and he will glorify him very soon. My children, I am with you for only a little while; you will look for me, but, as I already told the Jews, so now I tell you: where I am going you cannot come.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but afterwards you will.” Peter said, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I am ready to give my life for you.” Jesus answered, “To give your life for me! Truly, I tell you, the cock will not crow before you have denied me three times.”
esus had often spoken of his own suffering and death; but never with such a troubled spirit as he displayed, when he spoke about the betrayals against him that would be perpetrated by his disciples, all of his disciples, within the next twenty-four hours. Jesus’ prophecy of the treachery, which the disciples would undertake against him, applies to all of us, when we enjoy all of God’s mercies, but then treat God’s generosity with ingratitude. Then there is the infidel, who looks at Christianity with the desire to end its authority and its influence; or the hypocrite, who professes to believe in Christ, but will not be governed by Him; and the apostate, who turns aside from Christ for a life of no values. Much of humankind is supported by God’s providence, but refuses to believe in Him! Certainly Judas went out as one weary of Jesus and his disciples. But those, today, whose deeds embrace evil, choose to embrace darkness over light.
Wednesday, Holy Week Psalter: Week 2
Ps 69:8–10, 21–22, 31 and 33–34 Lord, in your great love, answer me.
1st Reading: Is 50:4–9a* … The Lord Yahweh has opened my ear. I have not rebelled, nor have I withdrawn. I offered my back to those who strike me, my cheeks to those who pulled my beard; neither did I shield my face from blows, spittle and disgrace. I have not despaired, for the Lord Yahweh comes to my help. So, like a flint I set my face, knowing that I will not be disgraced. He who avenges me is near. Who then will accuse me? Let us confront each other. Who is now my accuser? Let him approach. If the Lord Yahweh is my help. who will condemn me? All of them will wear out like cloth; the moth will devour them. Gospel: Mt 26:14–25 Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went off to the chief priests and said, “How much will you give me if I hand him over to you?” They promised to give him thirty pieces of silver, and from then on he kept looking for the best way to hand him over to them. On the first day of the Festival of the Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said to him, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?” Jesus answered, “Go into the city, to the house of a certain man, and tell him: ‘The Master says: My hour is near, and I will celebrate the Passover with my disciples in your house.” The disciples did as Jesus had ordered and prepared the Passover meal. When it was evening, Jesus sat at table with the Twelve. While they were eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you: one of you will betray me.” They were deeply distressed and asked him in turn, “You do not mean me, do you, Lord?” He answered, “He who will betray me is one of those who dips his bread in the dish with me. The Son of Man is going as the Scriptures say he will. But alas for that one who betrays the Son of Man; better for him not to have been born.” Judas, who was betraying him, also asked, “You do not mean me, Master, do you?” Jesus replied, “You have said it.”
rguments about the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot have resonated throughout the centuries. We don’t know exactly why Judas betrayed Jesus; but we do know that, over time, the views of Judas about money clashed with those of Jesus. That might have explained his betrayal. The fact that it was the world’s most notorious betrayal, however, is undeniable. Judas betrayed Jesus. But after being betrayed, Jesus went on to fulfil the messianic prophecy: he would suffer and die in the ultimate act of redemption, to release all humankind from the power of sin and the devil. Surely, we exclaim, we could never betray Jesus as Judas did. However, we can’t expect any society to be totally incorruptible, not on this side of heaven. The more that people profess to adhere to religion, the greater the opportunity they have of betraying God if their hearts are not right with Him. History shows that, when lesser acts of betrayal are allowed to dull the conscience of society, society ends up committing terrible crimes against humanity, which, shamefully, can be taken for granted by us. Honesty in prayer is the only antidote we have against Christ all over again.
1st Reading: Ex 12:1–8, 11–14 2nd Reading: 1 Cor 11:23–26 Gospel: Jn 13:1–15* It was before the feast of the Passover. Jesus realized that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father, and as he had loved those who were his own in the world, he would love them with perfect love. They were at supper and the devil had already put into the mind of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray. Jesus knew that the Father had entrusted all things to him, and as had come from God, he was going to God. So he got up from table, removed his garment and taking a towel, wrapped it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. When he came to Simon Peter, Simon said to him, “Why, Lord, you want to wash my feet!” Jesus said, “What I am doing you cannot understand now, but afterwards you will understand it.” Peter replied, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you can have no part with me.” Then Simon Peter said, “Lord, wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” Jesus replied, “Whoever has taken a bath does not need to wash (except the feet), for he is clean all over. You are clean, though not all of you.” Jesus knew who was to betray him; because of this he said, “Not all of you are clean.” When Jesus had finished washing their feet, he put on his garment again, went back to the table and said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also must wash one another’s feet. I have just given you an example that as I have done, you also may do.”
Holy Thursday (Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper) Psalter: Proper
Ps 116:12–13, 15–16bc, 17–18 Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
esus washed his disciples’ feet, showing them his humility and the symbolic connection between washing feet to cleansing the soul from the pollution of sin. It was one more instance of the respect and humility that imbued his life, values, which even his own disciples didn’t understand till after his death and resurrection. So it is today: all of us, who are spiritually washed by Christ, have a life in Him; He justifies us and washes us in sanctity. Christ cleanses us from sin and warns us to be on watch against anything that defiles our way of life. From yesterday’s pardon, we are strong against today’s temptation. We should learn the lesson, which Christ taught us here: duty is a mutual obligation. We must accept help from others and give help to others. When we see Jesus serving others, we can but realize how bad we are, whenever we try to dominate others. Divine love, which led Christ to ransom and reconcile his enemies, leads Him to unite us all in peace, today. We only have to try and live as humbly as He did to experience God’s love for us!
10 April friday
Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion Psalter: Proper
Ps 31:2, 6, 12–13, 15–16, 17, 25 Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
1st Reading: Is 52:13–53:12 2nd Reading: Heb 4:14–16; 5:7–9 We have a great High Priest, Jesus, the Son of God, who has entered heaven. Let us, then, hold fast to the faith we profess. Our high priest is not indifferent to our weaknesses, for he was tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sinning. Let us, then, with confidence approach the throne of grace; we will obtain mercy and, through his favor, help in due time. Christ, in the days of his mortal life, offered his sacrifice with tears and cries. He prayed to him who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his humble submission. Although he was Son, he learned through suffering what obedience was, and once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for those who obey him. Gospel: John 18:1–19:42* When Jesus had finished speaking, he went with his disciples to the other side of the Kidron Valley. There was a garden there where Jesus entered with his disciples. Now Judas, who betrayed him knew the place since Jesus had often met there with his disciples. He led soldiers of the Roman battalion and guards from the chief priests and Pharisees, who went there with lanterns, torches and weapons. Jesus knew all that was going to happen to him; he stepped forward and asked, “Who are you looking for?” They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.” Jesus said, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, stood there with them. When Jesus said, “I am he,” they moved back and fell to the ground. He then asked a second time, “Who are you looking for?” and they answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.” Jesus replied, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, let these others go.” So what Jesus had said came true: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
oday is the most painful day of the year for Christians of all persuasions: on this day we have to remember how Jesus suffered and was put to death for our sins. Never was any person in history ever so innocent as was Jesus. Attempts to fix blame for His death, however, have led to horrible acts of spiritual depravity. And the Jews have borne the brunt of this blame. Their implication in the death of Christ has resulted in hideous persecutions of them, down through the centuries. “Christ killers!” has been the epithet hurled at them. The Nazis cited this epithet as justification for the genocide of six million Jews, during the Holocaust of World War II. Hitler brainwashed his followers into exterminating the Jews, on the trumpedup charge of murdering Christ. Sadly, though, this concept was not a Nazi invention. For two thousand years, Christianity took an equally anti-semitic position. The truth is that Jesus came into this world knowing he would be killed. Because each of us has sinned, Jesus died for every one of us. None of us are innocent of the crime. Today is the perfect day for us to reflect upon this sad truth!
1st Reading: Gen 1–2:2 2nd Reading: Gen 22:1–18 3rd Reading: Ex 14:15–15:1 4th Reading: Is 54:5–14 5th Reading: Is 55:1–11 6th Reading: Bar 3:9–15, 32–4:4 7th Reading: Ezk 36:16–17a, 18–26 Gospel: Mk 16:1–7 When the Sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint the body. And very early in the morning on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” But as they looked up, they noticed that the stone had already been rolled away. It was a very big stone. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right, and they were amazed. But he said to them, “Don’t be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified; he has been raised and is not here. This is, however, the place where they laid him. Now go and tell his disciples and Peter: Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see him there just as he told you.”
The Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter Psalter: Proper
Ps 104:1–2, 5–6, 10, 12, 13–14, 24, 35 Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth. Ps 16:5, 9–10, 11 You are my inheritance, O Lord. Ex 15:1–2, 3–4, 5–6, 17–18 Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory. Ps 30:2, 4, 5–6, 11–12, 13 I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me. Is 12:2–3, 4, 5–6 You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation. Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11 Lord, you have the works of everlasting life. Is 12:2–3, 4bca, 5–6 You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation. Ps 118:1–2, 16–17, 22–23 Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
he fact that Mark’s gospel has three women as the first persons to learn of the risen Jesus is of great significance. Most Christians see it as evidence that Mark regarded women as equals, whereas, in the Judaism of the era, they were not considered as such. Women were rarely treated with the same dignity and respect, as was accorded to them by Jesus. So, the three women would have been feeling the loss of Jesus particularly keenly. The resurrection catches us off-guard by springing up in the middle of our fears and anxieties. We all try various ways to push back our fears; but eventually they break through. We even try to project our fears about life onto God. But, if we listen, at the point when our fears are most vivid, we can hear Christ saying: “Don’t be alarmed!” That means we can trust Him with everything: marriage, money, work, even death! It’s not just true that the resurrection happened; it also changed everything for us. For those of us, who put all of our hope in Christ, the resurrection is His way of showing us that everything is going to be just fine! Christus surrexit!
1st Reading: Acts 10:34a, 37–43 Peter spoke to the people, “Truly, I realize that God does not show partiality. No doubt you have heard of the event that occurred throughout the whole country of the Jews, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism John preached. You know how God anointed Jesus the Nazarean with Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all who were under the devil’s power, because God was with him; we are witnesses of all that he did throughout the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem itself. Yet they put him to death by hanging him on a wooden cross. “But God raised him to life on the third day and let him manifest himself, not to all the people, but to the witnesses that were chosen beforehand by God—to us who ate and drank with him after his resurrection from death. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to bear witness that he is the one appointed by God to judge the living and the dead. All the prophets say of him, that everyone who believes in him has forgiveness of sins through his Name.” 2nd Reading: Col 3:1–4 (or 1 Cor 5:6b–8) Sisters and brothers, if you are risen with Ps 118:1–2, 16–17, 22–23 Christ, seek the things that are above, where This is the day the Lord has made; Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set let us rejoice and be glad. your mind on the things that are above, not on earthly things. For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, reveals himself, you also will be revealed with him in Glory.
Gospel: Jn 20:1–9 On the first day after the sabbath, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark and she saw that the stone blocking the tomb had been moved away. She ran to Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved. And she said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don’t know where they have laid him.” Peter then set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down and saw the linen cloths lying flat, but he did not enter. Then Simon Peter came following him and entered the tomb; he, too, saw the linen cloths lying flat. The napkin, which had been around his head was not lying flat like the other linen cloths but lay rolled up in its place. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and believed. Scripture clearly said that he must rise from the dead, but they had not yet understood that.
Easter Sunday, Our Lord’s Resurrection Psalter: Proper
he sound of “Alleluia!” resounds throughout the Church this holy and blessed day. The Lord, who was once dead, is now risen from the tomb, never to die again. And we, by virtue of our baptism, share in His glory. “Do not weep,” Jesus would say to Mary of Magdala, the woman who represents all of us poor sinners. A day of triumph is not a day for tears, save only the tears of joy. We rightly rejoice this day in the vindication of our faith in the Lord Jesus, who proves by His resurrection that those who put their trust in Him will never be disappointed. On this glorious day may our praise of the Lord’s unfathomable mercy echo to the ends of the earth. Alleluia!
13 April monday
Octave of Easter, Monday Psalter: Proper
Ps 16:1–2a and 5, 7–8, 9–10, 11 Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
1st Reading: Acts 2:14, 22–33* Then Peter stood up with the Eleven and, with a loud voice, addressed them, … Fellow Israelites, listen to what I am going to tell you about Jesus of Nazareth. God accredited him and through him did powerful deeds and wonders and signs in your midst, as you well know. You delivered him to sinners to be crucified and killed, and in this way the purpose of God from all times was fulfilled. But God raised him to life and released him from the pain of death, because it was impossible for him to be held in the power of death. … Friends, I don’t need to prove that the patriarch David died and was buried; his tomb is with us to this day. But he knew that God had sworn to him that one of his descendants would sit upon his throne and, as he was a prophet, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah. … This Messiah is Jesus and we are all witnesses that God raised him to life. He has been exalted at God’s right side and the Father has entrusted the Holy Spirit to him; this Spirit he has just poured upon us as you now see and hear. Gospel: Mt 28:8–15 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, left the tomb at once in holy fear, yet with great joy, and they ran to tell the news to the disciples. Suddenly, Jesus met them on the way and said, “Peace.” The women approached him, embraced his feet and worshiped him. But Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to set out for Galilee; there they will see me.” While the women were on their way, the guards returned to the city and some of them reported to the chief priests all that had happened. The chief priests met with the Jewish authorities and decided to give the soldiers a good sum of money, with this instruction, “Say that his disciples came by night while you were asleep, and stole the body of Jesus. If Pilate comes to know of this, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” The soldiers accepted the money and did as they were told. This story has circulated among the Jews until this day.
ow wicked it was to see the soldiers being bought off by love of money! The only comfort we can derive from this story comes the fact that their falsehood disproved itself. Had the soldiers all been asleep, how could they have possibly known what happened to the body of Jesus? And if they had been asleep, they would never have dared to confess it; the priests would have been the first in line to call for their punishment. But surely, had any of them had been awake, they would have aroused the others and prevented the removal of Jesus’ body. The entire charade shows their story as extreme in its hatred and falsehood. We cannot put such a monstrous lie down to any misunderstanding; it was invented in the wickedness of the human heart. The great argument that proves Jesus to be the Son of God is exactly this: his resurrection! And nobody could have had more convincing proof of the truth, than these soldiers. Yet, they took bribes and, in doing so, hindered countless people throughout history from believing in the resurrection, and therefore the divinity, of Jesus Christ. For shame!
1st Reading: Acts 2:36–41 Peter said to the people, “Let Israel then know for sure that God has made Lord and Christ this Jesus whom you crucified.” When they heard this, they were deeply troubled. And they asked Peter and the other apostles, “What shall we do, brothers?” Peter answered: “Each of you must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise of God was made to you and your children, and to all those from afar whom our God may call.” With many other words Peter gave the message and appealed to them saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who accepted his word were baptized; some three thousand persons were added to their number that day.
Octave of Easter, Tuesday Psalter: Proper
Ps 33:4–5, 18–19, 20 and 22 The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Gospel: Jn 20:11–18 Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she bent down to look inside; she saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, and the other at the feet. They said, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She answered, “Because they have taken my Lord and I don’t know where they have put him.” As she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not recognize him. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and answered him, “Lord, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him, “Rabboni”—which means, Master. Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me; you see I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them: I am ascending to my Father, who is your Father, to my God, who is your God.” So Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord, and this is what he said to me.”
ary’s journey to the tomb resulted in the beginning of a new life for her. It was because of her faithfulness that Jesus called her by name and commissioned her to proclaim the good news of his resurrection. It was because of her faithfulness that we have an example of how important it is to give witness to Christ, even to those who may not believe or dismiss us. Mary’s heart was overjoyed to find Jesus. This is powerfully significant, because women were almost always overlooked during that time. Jesus, however, related to Mary and other women in the true manner of their creation: as equal reflectors of God’s image. Through her relationship with Jesus, Mary left us a legacy: we are called to step out in faith and share the good news that Christ has risen. As Christians, we are required to spend a lifetime, doing exclusively voluntary and unqualified acts of kindness, reinforced by forgiveness. We are called to do this right here and now in the trenches of living, dying, loving, hurting, struggling and welcoming our fellows in a new way: the daring, free, accepting, compassionate way, modelled for us by Christ!
Octave of Easter, Wednesday Psalter: Proper
Ps 105:1–2, 3–4, 6–7, 8–9 Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord.
1st Reading: Acts 3:1–10* Once when Peter and John were going up to the Temple for prayer, a man crippled from birth was being carried in. Every day they would bring him and put him at the temple gate called “Beautiful”; there he begged from those who entered the Temple. When he saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple, he asked for alms. Then Peter with John at his side, said, “Look at us.” So he looked at them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have I give you: In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, walk!” Then he took the beggar by his right hand and helped him up. At once his feet and ankles became firm, and jumping up he stood on his feet and began to walk. … All the people saw him walking and praising God. They were all astonished and amazed at what had happened to him. Gospel: Lk 24:13–35* Two disciples of Jesus were going to Emmaus and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking, Jesus came up and walked with them, but their eyes were held and they did not recognize him. He asked, “What is this you are talking about?” The two stood still, looking sad. Then one named Cleophas answered, “Why, it seems you are the only traveler in Jerusalem who doesn’t know what has happened there these past few days.” And he asked, “What is it?” They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a prophet, you know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced him to be crucified. They handed him over to be crucified. We had hoped that he would redeem Israel. It is now the third day since all this took place. It is true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find his body; they came to tell us that they had seen a vision of angels who told them that Jesus was alive. Some friends went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not see him.” …
he two disciples going to Emmaus did not recognize Jesus. And so, beginning with Moses, Jesus expounded to them the things in the Scriptures concerning himself. We can’t go far in any part, until we meet with something, some prophecy, some promise, or some prayer, that has reference to Christ. Even after his resurrection, Jesus wanted people to know the mystery concerning himself, not by advancing new notions, but by showing how the Scriptures were fulfilled in him. He encouraged his followers in the earnest study of them. Now, there are still people in this world of ours, who do not know of Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection. Christ, in manifesting Himself to all who seek Him, is our hope in life and the perfect example of how we should live a life of love-in-action.
1st Reading: Acts 3:11–26* … When Peter saw the people, he said to them, “Fellow Israelites, why are you amazed at this? Why do you stare at us as if it was by some power or holiness of our own that we made this man walk? … You rejected the Holy and Just One, and insisted that a murderer be released to you. You killed the Master of life, but God raised him from the dead and we are witnesses to this. It is his Name, and faith in his Name, that has healed this man whom you see and recognize. … Yet I know that you acted out of ignorance, as did your leaders. God has fulfilled in this way what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. … Repent, then, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out and the time of refreshment may come by the mercy of God, when he sends the Messiah appointed for you, Jesus. …
Octave of Easter, Thursday Psalter: Proper
Ps 8:2ab and 5, 6–7, 8–9 O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
Gospel: Lk 24:35–48* The two disciples told what had happened on the road and how Jesus made himself known when he broke bread with them. As they went on talking about this, Jesus himself stood in their midst. (And he said to them, “Peace to you.”) In their panic and fright they thought they were seeing a ghost, but he said to them, “Why are you upset and why do such ideas cross your mind? Look at my hands and feet and see that it is I myself. Touch me and see for yourselves that a ghost has no flesh and bones as I have.” (As he said this, he showed his hands and feet.) In their joy they didn’t dare believe and were still astonished. So he said to them, “Have you anything to eat?” and they gave him a piece of broiled fish. He took it and ate it before them. Then Jesus said to them, “Remember the words I spoke to you when I was still with you: Everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms had to be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. …
esus appeared and assured the disciples of his peace towards them, even though they had recently forsaken him. He also spoke with them about their lack of faith. His resurrection had been foretold by the prophets and was necessary for the salvation of sinners. So it is that both they and we need to understand what it means to to be at peace with Christ, to live as one of His followers, to stand up and witness to His forgiveness of our sins. It means drawing no lines between friend or foe, acceptable ones or outcasts! The world is not as Christ would have it. The nations of this world are not yet part of the kingdom of God; but they could become so if they wanted. We have lost the capacity to dream great dreams. We are called to step out in faith and share the good news; that is Christ’s legacy. But, living as Christians is not easy. It requires listening and looking for ways to be Christ’s presence in the lives of others. It requires taking risks and stepping outside of our comfort zones. But, in the end it is perfect…just as Christ is perfect among us!
17 April friday
Octave of Easter, Friday Psalter: Proper
Ps 118:1–2 and 4, 22–24, 25–27a The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
1st Reading: Acts 4:1–12* … The next day, the Jewish leaders, elders and teachers of the Law assembled in Jerusalem. Annas, the High Priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and all who were of the high priestly class were there. They brought Peter and John before them and began to question them, “How did you do this? Whose name did you use?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke up, “Leaders of the people! It is a fact that we are being examined today for a good deed done to a cripple. How was he healed? You and all the people of Israel must know that this man stands before you cured through the Name of Jesus Christ the Nazarean. You had him crucified, but God raised him from the dead. Jesus is the stone rejected by you the builders which has become the cornerstone. There is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other Name given to humankind all over the world by which we may be saved.” Gospel: Jn 21:1–14* … Simon Peter said to them, “I’m going fishing.” They replied, “We will come with you” and they went out and got into the boat. But they caught nothing that night. When day had already broken, Jesus was standing on the shore, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus called them, “Children, have you anything to eat?” They answered, “Nothing.” Then he said to them, “Throw the net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they had lowered the net, they were not able to pull it in because of the great number of fish. Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” At these words, Simon Peter put on his clothes, and jumped into the water. The other disciples came in the boat dragging the net full of fish; … Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed into the boat and pulled the net to shore. It was full of big fish—one hundred and fifty-three—but, in spite of this, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” … Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and he did the same with the fish. …
ohn, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was the first to recognize him: “It’s the Lord!” John had stayed the closest to Jesus during his sufferings and so it is not surprising to find him recognizing Jesus sooner than the rest. But Peter, being the most zealous, jumped overboard and reached Jesus first. Everyone is accepted by Christ and those, who continue working in their boat, are as true in their service of Christ as are those who zealously jump overboard and swim towards Him. Living in fear, the disciples still had to find a way to maintain their livelihood and not be a burden to anyone. Often, Christ decides that the time of making His salvation known to us is when we are most at a loss. Christ manifests Himself to us by doing for us what nobody else can do, and by showing us the most wonderful things and feelings, which we would never have expected to see or feel in a lifetime. He also takes care that those, who have left everything behind for Him, will not want for anything. He really is our divine protector and caregiver!
1st Reading: Acts 4:13–21 The leaders, elders, and scribes were astonished at the boldness of Peter and John, considering that they were uneducated and untrained men. They recognized, also, that they had been with Jesus, but, as the man who had been cured stood beside them, they could make no reply. So they ordered them to leave the council room while they consulted with one another. They asked, “What shall we do with these men? Everyone who lives in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign has been given through them, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this from spreading any further among the people, let us warn them never again to speak to anyone in the name of Jesus.” So they called them back and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s eyes for us to obey you rather than God. We cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Then the council threatened them once more and let them go. They could find no way of punishing them because of the people who glorified God for what had happened.
Octave of Easter, Saturday Psalter: Proper
Ps 118:1 and 14–15ab, 16–18, 19–21 I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
Gospel: Mk 16:9–15 After Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary of Magdala from whom he had driven out seven demons. She went and reported the news to his followers, who were now mourning and weeping. But when they heard that he lived and had been seen by her, they would not believe it. After this he showed himself in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. These men too went back and told the others, but they did not believe them. Later Jesus showed himself to the Eleven while they were at table. He reproached them for their unbelief and stubbornness in refusing to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. Then he told them, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.”
ou might think that no better news could be brought to the disciples, huddled together as they were in disbelief, than messages telling them about Jesus’ resurrection. But they wouldn’t believe it until they had seen Jesus for themselves. Christ commissioned the disciples to go out into the world and preach the good news of His resurrection to every person. It was, therefore, provident that proof of Jesus’ resurrection was given to them gradually, so that the assurance, with which they would go on to preach his resurrection, might be all the more evident. And this is still our solemn declaration of that true faith, which sees Christ in every person we meet throughout all the world. Christ commissioned the disciples to preach that Christ is risen; this extends to everyone of us, wherever we might be in the world. Let us observe with what power the disciples were charged, so that they might be strong in their confirmation of Christ’s resurrection. It is up to us to carry forward their tradition, to confirm the truth of Christ’s resurrection, and to find the means of spreading this good news among all peoples, whether they have heard it or not.
1st Reading: Acts 4:32–35 The whole community of believers was one in heart and mind. No one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but rather they shared all things in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, for all of them were living in an exceptional time of grace. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned land or houses, sold them and brought the proceeds of the sale. And they laid it at the feet of the apostles who distributed it according to each one’s need. 2nd Reading: 1 Jn 5:1–6 All those who believe that Jesus is the Anointed, are born of God; if you love the Father you also love all those born of him. How may we know that we love the children of God? If we love God and fulfill his commands, for God’s love requires us to keep his commands. In fact, his commandments are not a burden because all those born of God overcome the world. And the victory which overcomes the world is our faith. Who has overcome the world? The one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus Christ was acknowledged through water, but also through blood. Ps 118:2–4, 13–15, 22–24 Not only water but water and blood. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, And the Spirit, too, witnesses to him for the his love is everlasting. Spirit is truth. Gospel: Jn 20:19–31 On the evening of that day, the first day after the Sabbath, the doors were locked where the disciples were, because of their fear of the Jews, but Jesus came and stood in their midst. He said to them, “Peace be with you”; then he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples kept looking at the Lord and were full of joy. Again Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” After saying this he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit; for those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.” Thomas, the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he replied,
“Until I have seen in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” Eight days later, the disciples were inside again and Thomas was with them. Despite the locked doors Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands; stretch out your hand and put it into my side. Resist no longer and be a believer.” Thomas then said, “You are my Lord and my God.” Jesus replied, “You believe because you see me, don’t you? Happy are those who have not seen and believe.” There were many other signs that Jesus gave in the presence of his disciples, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that
2nd Sunday of Easter Divine Mercy Sunday Psalter: Week 2
you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; believe and you will have life through his Name.
he Church celebrates this day the tremendous blessing of the Lordâ€™s Divine Mercy. No stone could keep the Lord in the tomb, and no locked door could block the Lordâ€™s mission of extending His mercy to the Church through His beloved apostles. Can we imagine how the apostles were feeling that day? Their lives had turned upside down within the span of one week, from the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to His agonizing death on the cross just a few days later. They could have done so much better for Jesus, and their hearts were heavily laden with the burden of guilt of leaving Him in His hour of need, not even being able to watch one hour with Him. Lifted and erased that first Easter evening were all of their sins and sorrows, and all of ours as well, all through the Divine Mercy of the Lord, a mercy that knows no bounds.
20 April monday
2nd Week of Easter Psalter: Week 2
Ps 2:1–3, 4–7a, 7b–9 Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
1st Reading: Acts 4:23–31* As soon as Peter and John were set free, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard it, they raised their voices as one and called upon God, “Sovereign Lord, maker of heaven and earth, of the sea and everything in them, you have put these words in the mouth of David, our father and your servant, through the Holy Spirit: … The kings of the earth were aligned and the princes gathered together against the Lord and against his Messiah. For indeed in this very city Herod with Pontius Pilate, and the pagans together with the people of Israel conspired against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. Thus, indeed, they brought about whatever your powerful will had decided from all time would happen. But now, Lord, see their threats against us and enable your servants to speak your word with all boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and to work signs and wonders through the Name of Jesus your holy servant.” When they had prayed, the place where they were gathered together shook, and they were all filled with Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God boldly. Gospel: Jn 3:1–8 Among the Pharisees there was a ruler of the Jews named Nicodemus. He came to Jesus by night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you have come from God to teach us, for no one can perform miraculous signs like yours unless God is with him.” Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again from above.” Nicodemus said, “How can there be rebirth for a grown man? Who could go back to his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you: No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Because of this, don’t be surprised when I say: ‘You must be born again from above.’ The wind blows where it pleases and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It is like that with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
ou might think that no better news could be brought to the disciples, huddled together as they were in disbelief, than messages telling them about Jesus’ resurrection. But they wouldn’t believe it until they had seen Jesus for themselves. Christ commissioned the disciples to go out into the world and preach the Good News of His resurrection to every person. And this is still our solemn declaration of that true faith, which sees Christ in every person we meet throughout all the world. Let us observe with what power the disciples were charged, so that they might be strong in their confirmation of Christ’s resurrection. It is up to us to carry forward their tradition, to confirm the truth of Christ’s resurrection, and to find the means of spreading this good news among all peoples, whether they have heard it or not.
1st Reading: Acts 4:32–37 The whole community of believers was one in heart and mind. No one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but rather they shared all things in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, for all of them were living in an exceptional time of grace. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned land or houses, sold them and brought the proceeds of the sale. And they laid it at the feet of the apostles who distributed it according to each one’s need. This is what a certain Joseph did. He was a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas, meaning: “The encouraging one.” He sold a field which he owned and handed the money to the apostles.
2nd Week of Easter Anselm Psalter: Week 2
Ps 93:1ab, 1cd–2, 5 The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
Gospel: Jn 3:7b–15 Because of this, don’t be surprised when I say: ‘You must be born again from above.’ The wind blows where it pleases and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It is like that with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus asked again, “How can this be?” And Jesus answered, “You are a teacher in Israel, and you don’t know these things! Truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we witness to the things we have seen, but you don’t accept our testimony. If you don’t believe when I speak of earthly things, what then, when I speak to you of heavenly things? No one has ever gone up to heaven except the one who came from heaven, the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
he apostles loved one another. Such was the fruit of Christ’s dying precept to them, and His dying prayer for all of us. There was evidence of Christ’s grace in everything they said and did. They were dead to this world. They did not take upon themselves the ownership of property; they were totally indifferent to property. They did not call this world their own, because they had forsaken all for Christ. Anyway, they expected to be stripped of all their worldly possessions, simply because of the commitment they had made to follow Christ. No wonder they were of one heart and soul, when they sat so free from the wealth of this world. Even Barnabas, mentioned as a person of remarkably generous charity and destined to preach Christ’s resurrection with them, disentangled himself from the affairs of this life. When such dispositions prevail among Christians, and they are exercised according to the circumstances of the times, such exemplary behavior has a very great influence upon the world. The doctrine they preached was firmly rooted in the resurrection of Christ, a fact, which should be a summary of all the duties, privileges and comforts of Christians everywhere.
2nd Week of Easter Psalter: Week 2
Ps 34:2–3, 4–5, 6–7, 8–9 The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
1st Reading: Acts 5:17–26 The High Priest and all his supporters, that is the party of the Sadducees, became very jealous of the apostles; so they arrested them and had them thrown into the public jail. But an angel of the Lord opened the door of the prison during the night, brought them out, and said to them, “Go and stand in the Temple court and tell the people the whole of this living message.” Accordingly they entered the Temple at dawn and resumed their teaching. When the High Priest and his supporters arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin, that is the full Council of the elders of Israel. They sent word to the jail to have the prisoners brought in. But when the Temple guards arrived at the jail, they did not find them inside, so they returned with the news, “We found the prison securely locked and the prison guards at their post outside the gate, but when we opened the gate, we found no one inside.” Upon hearing these words, the captain of the Temple guard and the high priests were baffled, wondering where all of this would end. Just then someone arrived with the report, “Look, those men whom you put in prison are standing in the Temple, teaching the people.” Then the captain went off with the guards and brought them back, but without any show of force, for fear of being stoned by the people. Gospel: Jn 3:16–21 Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Yes, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world; instead, through him the world is to be saved. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned. He who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the Name of the only Son of God. “This is how the Judgment is made: Light has come into the world and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For whoever does wrong hates the light and doesn’t come to the light for fear that his deeds will be shown as evil. But whoever lives according to the truth comes into the light so that it can be clearly seen that his works have been done in God.”
t this early stage in the life of the Church, miracles were necessary to attest to the truth that was being taught by the apostles; and the power of miracles was abundantly bestowed upon them. When we pray to God for recovery from sickness, or release from troubles that beset us, and God answers our prayers, it is not so that we may enjoy the comforts of life, but so that God may be honored by the service of Him in our life. We must speak to all, for all are concerned. Speak the words of life, which God puts into our mouths! Speak all the words of this divine life, with which our present, earthly life cannot compare!
1st Reading: Acts 5:27–33 So the temple guards brought them in and made them stand before the Council and the High Priest questioned them, “We gave you strict orders not to preach such a Savior; but you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you intend charging us with the killing of this man.” To this Peter and the apostles replied, “Better for us to obey God rather than any human authority! “The God of our ancestors raised Jesus whom you killed by hanging him on a wooden post. God set him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to grant repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses to all these things, as well as the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.” When the Council heard this, they became very angry and wanted to kill them.
2nd Week of Easter George / Adalbert Psalter: Week 2
Ps 34:2 and 9, 17–18, 19–20 The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Gospel: Jn 3:31–36 Jesus said to Nicodemus, “He who comes from above is above all; he who comes from the earth belongs to the earth and his words, too, are earthly. The One who comes from heaven speaks of the things he has seen and heard; he bears witness to this but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever does receive his testimony acknowledges the truthfulness of God. “The one sent by God speaks God’s words and gives the Spirit without measure. For the Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything into his hands. Whoever believes in the Son lives with eternal life, but he who will not believe in the Son will never know life and always faces the justice of God.”
ad Christ been praised for taking Israel out from under the control of the Romans, we should have no doubt that the chief priests would have welcomed Him…far less that history would have so recorded and honored Him, as we know it has and continues to do so today. But repentance and the remission of sins were blessings, which the chief priests didn’t pretend to value. Therefore, there was no way in which they, by any way knowing, were going to admit the truth of Christ’s teachings, or were going to protect the lives of His apostles. Today, many people commit evil with daring; yet they cannot bear to hear of their evil after the fact, nor to be charged with a crime because of it. Whenever we repent, we are granted forgiveness. Christ comes to our aid whenever we repent, awakens our conscience and works towards the end of sin in our lives, by effecting a real change in our hearts. When we live according to the will of God, we are giving ample evidence that we are alive to the life and love of Christ within us. We should always remember to treasure His love for us!
24 April friday
2nd Week of Easter Fidelis of Sigmaringen Psalter: Week 2
Ps 27:1, 4, 13–14 One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
1st Reading: Acts 5:34–42* Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law highly respected by the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin. He ordered the men to be taken outside and then he spoke to the assembly. “Fellow Israelites, consider well what you intend to do to these men. For some time ago Theudas came forward, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men joined him. But he was killed and all his followers were dispersed or disappeared. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared at the time of the census and persuaded many people to follow him. But he too perished and his whole following was scattered. So, in this present case, I advise you to have nothing to do with these men. Leave them alone. If their project or activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. If, on the other hand, it is from God, you will not be able to destroy it and you may indeed find yourselves fighting against God.” … Gospel: Jn 6:1–15* … Then lifting up his eyes, Jesus saw the crowds that were coming to him and said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread so that these people may eat?” He said this to test Philip, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred silver coins would not buy enough bread for each of them to have a piece.” Then one of Jesus’ disciples, Andrew, said, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass there so the people, about five thousand men, sat down to rest. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks and distributed them to those who were seated. He did the same with the fish and gave them as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten enough, he told his disciples, “Gather up the pieces left over, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with bread, that is with pieces of the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw this sign that Jesus had just given, they said, “This is really the Prophet, he who is to come into the world.” …
oday, we meet Gamaliel, a Pharisee and celebrated scholar of the Mosaic Law. Citing past revolts, Gamaliel advised his fellow members of the Sanhedrin not to put Peter and the other apostles to death, simply for preaching the gospel. His logic was impeccable: if Christianity was of human origin, it would destroy itself. If, on the other hand, it came from God, they wouldn’t be able to destroy it; they might even find themselves fighting against God. Of course, he was right! Christ sometimes directs the worldly-wise to restrain our persecutors. The apostles were teaching the truth about the resurrection of Christ. This is exactly what should be our constant business, today: teach all the lessons we have learned about Christ! Christ crucified! Christ glorified! Whatever our station in life, we should seek to make Christ known and glorify His name!
1st Reading: 1 P 5:5b–14 Beloved: All of you must clothe yourself with humility in your dealings with one another, because God opposes the proud but gives his grace to the humble. Bow down, then, before the power of God so that he will raise you up at the appointed time. Place all your worries on him since he takes care of you. Be sober and alert because your enemy the devil prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Stand your ground, firm in your faith, knowing that our brothers and sisters, scattered throughout the world, are confronting similar sufferings. God, the giver of all grace, has called you to share in Christ’s eternal Glory and after you have suffered a little he will bring you to perfection: he will confirm, strengthen and establish you forever. Glory be to him forever and ever. Amen. I have had these few lines of encouragement written to you by Silvanus, our brother, whom I know to be trustworthy. For I wanted to remind you of the kindness of God really present in all this. Hold on to it. Greetings from the community in Babylon, gathered by God, and from my son, Mark. Greet one another with a friendly embrace. Peace to you all who are in Christ.
Mark, evangelist Psalter: Proper
Ps 89:2–3, 6–7, 16–17 For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Gospel: Mk 16:15–20 Jesus told his disciples, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; the one who refuses to believe will be condemned. Signs like these will accompany those who have believed: in my Name they will cast out demons and speak new languages; they will pick up snakes and, if they drink anything poisonous, they will be unharmed. They will lay their hands on the sick and they will be healed.” “So then, after speaking to them, the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven and took his place at the right hand of God. The Eleven went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs which accompanied them.”
ark is the author of the second Gospel in the New Testament, but the first Gospel ever written. In his work, Church History (AD 325), Eusebius of Caesarea wrote the following about the Gospel of Mark: “So greatly did the splendor of piety illumine the minds of Peter’s hearers, that they were not content with the unwritten teaching of the divine Gospel, but with all sorts of entreaties they besought Mark, a follower of Peter, and the one whose Gospel is extant, that he would leave them a written monument of the doctrine which had been orally communicated to them. Nor did they cease until they had prevailed with the man, and had thus become the occasion of the written Gospel which bears the name of Mark.” It is said that a French monk named Bernard carried Mark’s body to Venice in AD 815, where it is buried in a secret place in Saint Mark’s Cathedral!
1st Reading: Acts 3:13–15, 17–19 Peter said to the people, “The God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus whom you handed over to death and denied before Pilate, when even Pilate had decided to release him.” You rejected the Holy and Just One, and you insisted that a murderer be released to you. You killed the Master of life, but God raised him from the dead and we are witnesses to this. “Yet I know that you acted out of ignorance, as did your leaders. God has fulfilled in this way what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. “Repent, then, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out.” 2nd Reading: 1 Jn 2:1–5a My little children, I write to you that you may not sin. But if anyone sins, we have an intercessor with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Just One. He is the sacrificial victim for our sins and the sins of the whole world. How can we know that we know him? If we fulfill his commands. If you say, “I know him,” but do not fulfill his commands, you are a liar and the truth is not in you. But if you keep his word, Ps 4:2, 4, 7a–8, 9 God’s love is made complete in you. This is how Lord, let your face shine on us. we know that we are in him.
Gospel: Lk 24:35–48 Then the two told what had happened on the road and how Jesus made himself known when he broke bread with them. 3rd Sunday of Easter As they went on talking about this, Jesus Psalter: Week 3 himself stood in their midst. (And he said to them, “Peace to you.”) In their panic and fright they thought they were seeing a ghost, but he said to them, “Why are you upset and why do such ideas cross your mind? Look at my hands and feet and see that it is I myself. Touch me and see for yourselves that a ghost has no flesh and bones as I have.” (As he said this, he showed his hands and feet.) In their joy they didn’t dare believe and were still astonished. So he said to them, “Have you anything to eat?” and they gave him a piece of broiled fish. He took it and ate it before them. Then Jesus said to them, “Remember the words I spoke to you when I was still with you: Everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms had to be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he went on, “You see what was written: the Messiah had to suffer and on the third day rise from the dead. Then repentance and he two disciples on the road to Emmaus were forgiveness in his name would be proclaimed to privileged to walk with the Lord Jesus and all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Now experience His wisdom, compassion and mercy. you shall be witnesses to this. They got to know Him through the breaking of the bread. Once they had experienced the powerful presence of the Lord at the table in Emmaus they could hardly contain themselves. They ran back to Jerusalem to tell the apostles what they had seen and heard. We, like them, are given a tremendous gift when we experience the real and substantial presence of the Lord in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. In that powerful sacrament, Jesus gives us everything that He can possibly give, His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. Do not our hearts burn within us as we draw close to Jesus in Holy Communion? May we remember that the gift of the Eucharist is given to us as stewards. We are to pass on to others the Lord whom we receive by bringing to the world His love, compassion and mercy. We are called to be witnesses. May we do so with clarity and integrity.
27 April monday
3rd Week of Easter Psalter: Week 3
Ps 119:23–24, 26–27, 29–30 Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
1st Reading: Acts 6:8–15* Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. Some persons then came forward, … They argued with Stephen but they could not match the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke. As they were unable to face the truth, they bribed some men to say, “We heard him speak against Moses and against God.” So they stirred up the people, the elders and the teachers of the Law; they took him by surprise, seized him and brought him before the Council. Then they produced false witnesses who said, “This man never stops speaking against our Holy Place and the Law. We even heard him say that Jesus the Nazarean will destroy our Holy Place and change the customs which Moses handed down to us.” And all who sat in the Council fixed their eyes on him, and his face appeared to them like the face of an angel. Gospel: Jn 6:22–29 After Jesus has fed the five thousand, his disciples saw him walking on the water. Next day the people who had stayed on the other side realized that only one boat had been there and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples; rather, the disciples had gone away alone. Bigger boats from Tiberias came near the place where all these people had eaten the bread. When they saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Master, when did you come here?” Jesus answered, “Truly, I say to you, you look for me, not because you have seen through the signs, but because you ate bread and were satisfied. Work then, not for perishable food, but for the lasting food which gives eternal life. The Son of Man will give it to you, for he is the one the Father has marked.” Then the Jews asked him, “What shall we do? What are the works that God wants us to do?” And Jesus answered them, “The work God wants is this: that you believe in the One whom God has sent.”
tephen was one of the first seven Christian deacons, and he is generally regarded as the first Christian martyr. The seven deacons were chosen to assist in the service of the new church in Jerusalem. There was no doubt as to Stephen’s exceptionally good character, and the miraculous power that he had been given by God. When the members of the synagogue could not answer Stephen’s arguments, they prosecuted him as a criminal and brought false witnesses against him. It is a virtual miracle of providence that not more Christians have been murdered, by way of perjury and distortion of law, when so many thousands hate Christians. The blame lies within the heart of the sinful person, who, refusing Christ, testifies in a deceitful and desperately wicked fashion. Yet, while we are servants of Christ and, like Stephen, we possess a clear conscience, cheerful hope and divine consolation, we know we can smile in the midst of danger and death.
1st Reading: Acts 7:51–8:1a Stephen said, “But you are a stubborn people, you hardened your hearts and closed your ears. You have always resisted the Holy Spirit just as your fathers did. Was there a prophet whom your ancestors did not persecute? They killed those who announced the coming of the Just One whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the Law through the angels but did not fulfill it.” When they heard this reproach, they were enraged and they gnashed their teeth against Stephen. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, fixed his eyes on heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus at God’s right hand, so he declared: “I see the heavens open and the Son of Man at the right hand of God.” But they shouted and covered their ears with their hands and rushed together upon him. They brought him out of the city and stoned him, and the witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen prayed saying: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and said in a loud voice: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he died. Saul was there, approving his murder. This was the beginning of a great persecution against the Church in Jerusalem.
3rd Week of Easter Peter Chanel / Louis Mary de Montfort Psalter: Week 3
Ps 31:3cd–4, 6 and 7b and 8a, 17 and 21ab Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Gospel: Jn 6:30–35 The people said to Jesus, “Show us miraculous signs, that we may see and believe you. What sign do you perform? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert; as Scripture says: They were given bread from heaven to eat.” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven. My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. The bread God gives is the One who comes from heaven and gives life to the world.” And they said to him, “Give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall never be hungry, and whoever believes in me shall never be thirsty.”
tephen was rebuking the crowd for their lack of faith in the gospel. Fairly tactless of him! But, was it cause enough for them to stone him to death? Apparently, they decided it was. Just like their elders, they were stubborn and willful. Stephen was offering them the good news of Christ’s resurrection; but, they wouldn’t embrace it, because they were resolved not to comply with God, either in his law or in his gospel. Their own guilt stung them to the quick and they sought relief from that guilt by murdering their accuser, instead of showing remorse or mercy for him. Stephen prayed in his dying moments. Here he was, a man being stoned to death, actually praying for his murderers. Stephen died as violently as any person ever did; and yet, he died with as much composure as if he had been going to sleep, knowing full well that he would awake again in the morning of the resurrection, and be received into the presence of God, where he would receive his fullness of joy and share in the pleasure of being at God’s right hand, for evermore.
3rd Week of Easter Catherine of Siena Psalter: Week 3
Ps 66:1–3a, 4–5, 6–7a Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
1st Reading: Acts 8:1b–8 All, except the apostles, were scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samaria. Devout men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. Saul meanwhile was trying to destroy the Church; he entered house after house and dragged off men and women and had them put in jail. At the same time those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to a town of Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. All the people paid close attention to what Philip said as they listened to him and saw the miraculous signs that he did. For in cases of possession, the unclean spirits came out shrieking loudly. Many people who were paralyzed or crippled were healed. So there was great joy in that town. Gospel: Jn 6:35–40 Jesus said to the crowd, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall never be hungry, and whoever believes in me shall never be thirsty. Nevertheless, as I said, you refuse to believe, even when you have seen. Yet, all that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me, I shall not turn away. For I have come from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of the One who sent me. “And the will of him who sent me is that I lose nothing of what he has given me, but instead that I raise it up on the last day. This is the will of the Father, that whoever sees the Son and believes in him shall live with eternal life; and I will raise him up on the last day.”
he people not only listened to what Philip said, but were convinced that he was sent by God, not by men; so they gave themselves up to be directed by anything he told them to do. Possession by evil spirits was named here as a most difficult affliction that could not be cured by the course of nature, and as the most obvious expression of the disease of sin. All inclinations to lust of the flesh, at war against the soul, were regarded as evil spirits. While not everyone was converted by the gospel as preached by Philip, the people of the town knew that he had within him great strength and power of divine grace, which he called upon to drive out evil spirits. By that grace, many more were brought to believe in Christ. Wherever we Christians are led, we carry the knowledge of the gospel and we make known the preciousness of Christ to us, in every place. Where the simple desire of doing good influences our hearts, we will find it impossible not to welcome Christ as the author of all the opportunities we have of doing those things that are offered to us by God.
1st Reading: Acts 8:26–40* An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south towards the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert road.” So he set out and it happened that an Ethiopian was passing along that way. … He was sitting in his carriage and reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, “Go and catch up with that carriage.” So Philip ran up and heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah; and he asked, “Do you really understand what you are reading?” The Ethiopian replied, “How can I, unless someone explains it to me?” He then invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. … The official asked Philip, “Tell me, please, does the prophet speak of himself or of someone else?” Then Philip began to tell him the Good News of Jesus, using this text of Scripture as his starting point. As they traveled down the road they came to a place where there was some water. Then the Ethiopian official said, “Look, here is water; what is to keep me from being baptized?” Then he ordered the carriage to stop; both Philip and the Ethiopian went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away. The Ethiopian saw him no more, but he continued on his way full of joy. …
3rd Week of Easter Pius V Psalter: Week 3
Ps 66:8–9, 16–17, 20 Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Gospel: Jn 6:44–51 Jesus said to the crowds, “No one can come to me unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise him up on the last day. It has been written in the Prophets: They shall all be taught by God. So whoever listens and learns from the Father comes to me. “For no one has seen the Father except the One who comes from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. “I am the bread of life. Though your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, they died. But here you have the bread which comes from heaven so that you may eat of it and not die. “I am the living bread which has come from heaven; whoever eats of this bread will live forever. The bread I shall give is my flesh and I will give it for the life of the world.”
et us not be satisfied until we are confirmed in our faith, as the Ethiopian was, by diligently studying the teachings of Christ. We should strive to do good to all those, with whom we come into company as we travel through life. As to those, of whom we know nothing else, we know this: they all have souls! When those, who inquire after salvation and become acquainted with Christ and his gospel, they will also go on their way rejoicing. Their hearts will be filled with love and hope in the resurrection of Christ. May Christ grant that every one of us will go on our way, rejoicing together!
S piritually, all of humankind serves one of two masters; everyone is either a slave of God or a J esus made a series of claims, which were...