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Easter: May 1st

Third Sunday of Easter

MASS READINGS

May 01, 2022 (Readings on USCCB website)

COLLECT PRAYER

May your people exult for ever, O God, in renewed youthfulness of spirit, so that, rejoicing now in the restored glory of our adoption, we may look forward in confident hope to the rejoicing of the day of resurrection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.

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Entrance Antiphon, Cf. Ps 66 (65):1-2:

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth; O sing to the glory of his name. O render him glorious praise, alleluia.


"When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus." For the third time Jesus appears to His disciples and on the lake of Genesareth renews the miraculous draught of fishes. The Fathers did not fail to see in the one hundred and fifty-three great fishes that Peter brought to land the neophytes born to supernatural life in the waters of baptism and brought by Peter to the feet of the risen Christ.

The feast of St. Joseph the Worker, which is ordinarily celebrated today, is superseded by the Sunday liturgy.


Sunday Mass Readings, Year C:
The First Reading is taken from the Acts of the Apostles, 5:27-32, 40b-41. The Apostles' failure to obey the Sanhedrin is obviously not due to pride or to their not knowing their place; the Sanhedrin is imposing a ruling which would have them go against God's law and their own conscience.

The Second Reading is from the Book of Revelation, 5:11-14. The host of angels around the throne act as a kind of guard of honor proclaiming the sublime perfection of Christ the Lamb; they list seven attributes which all point to the fact that he has everything that belongs to the Godhead.

The Gospel is from St. John, 21:1-19, The primary purpose in recounting this appearance of the Risen Christ to his Apostles, was to stress the actual conferring of the Primacy on Peter. From this very first meeting with Christ at the Jordan (Jn. 1:42) the Savior had told him that his name Simon bar-Jonah would be changed to Cephas, which means Rock. Some year or so later, at Caesarea Philippi, this change took place when Christ said to Simon, "You are (Peter) Rock. and upon this Rock I will build my Church . . . and I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 16:18-19).

This promise, that Simon would be the foundation, the source of strength and unity, in the new Christian community, was made factual on the occasion described here by John. Christ uses a new metaphor—Simon (Peter) is to be the new shepherd—he would take the place of Christ, as head and director of the Christian flock. He would provide protection and pasturage for Christ's sheep and lambs. He would, in other words, be the keeper and head of Christ's Church.

That this position of authority was recognized by his fellow Apostles and by the first Christians, is evident in almost every page of the Acts—the book which describes the infant Church. It was Peter who presided at the election of Matthias, who succeeded Judas in the apostolic college (Acts 1:15-26): he gave the first Christian sermon after the descent of the Holy Spirit (2: 14-40); he worked the first recorded miracle wrought by any Apostle (3:1-11); he pronounced sentence on Ananiah and Sapphira (5:1-11); it was he who received the first Gentile convert into the Church (11:1-18) and it was he who defended Paul's action at the Council of Jerusalem (15:6-11).

In face of such evidence no serious historian can doubt but that the other Apostles and the first Christians saw in Peter the living head of the Church, the representative of Christ. The Church in the succeeding generations and centuries saw the successor of Peter, and the living representative of Christ in the occupant of the See of Rome, the bishopric held by Peter, when he was martyred for the faith. History is witness to this.

There were Christians who refused obedience to him, but not one of them claimed for himself the privilege of Peter and his successors. That the Church, the society founded by Christ to bring salvation to the world, should need a visible Head on earth, needs no further (and has not stronger) proof than that Christ himself saw it as necessary and arranged it accordingly. The power of the keys, given to Peter, were more necessary in the second and succeeding generations than in Peter's day, when the other Apostles were still alive. When Christ laid the foundation of his Church on a Rock. it was to be a Rock that would last as long as the Church. Peter died, but Peter's office will last until the last man goes to heaven. The Sheep and the Lambs of the twentieth and thirtieth centuries have as much need of pasturage and protection as, if not more than, those of the first century. Christ, our Savior and our Good Shepherd, provided for all time.

—Excepted from The Sunday Readings, Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.


Meditation—The Soul’s Easter
That is the Easter of the soul: the glorious awareness that we are indeed redeemed, freed from the Egypt of sin and from the domination of Satan. Jesus Christ, the true Moses of the New Law, has redeemed us on the wood of the Cross; has led us through the Red Sea of Baptism; has rescued us form servitude to the hellish Pharoah whom He has drowned, with his army of sins, in the Baptismal flood (cf. Liturgy of Holy Saturday).

St. Paul admonishes us: “Brethren, if you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above…For you have died [to sin], and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life, shall appear [on the last day], then you too will appear with Him in glory” (Col 3:1-4).

Easter of the soul is not limited to mere rejoicing over our redemption and resurrection unto a new life through Christ. This blessed gift of God carries with it a vital obligation: the development of this new life unto our own glorification in the Kingdom of the redeemed and the Redeemer.

“Our Paschal Lamb, Christ has been slain, alleluia. Therefore let us feast on the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, alleluia, alleluia” (Communion of Easter Sunday). Thus we must live a life for God alone, for his holy will, His pleasure, HI interests, His honor.

A living communion with Christ always demands a communion of suffering and death with Him. But these lead to a victory communion with the risen and eternally glorified Christ (cf. Rom. 6:5). The Easter jubilation in our hearts, therefore, must never be silent, even on the “Good Friday” of our earthly life; the obligations of the Easter gift in our souls must never be lost sight of amid the pleasures and cares of our daily lives. Upon the wings of our joyful thanksgiving for our redemption, our promise should ascend to God to preserve the graces of Baptism and Easter in our souls; to remain risen and redeemed, dead to sin and walking as “children of light.”

So long as the radiance of Easter burns in our hearts, so long shall we sing that mysterious and jubilant morning prayer of the risen Savior (Introit of Easter Sunday): “I arose, and am still with Thee, alleluia: Thou hast laid Thy hand upon me, alleluia: Thy knowledge is become wonderful, alleluia, alleluia. Lord, Thou has searched me; Thou knowest my sitting down and my rising up.”

—Bernard Strasser, The Dews of Tabor


Meditation for the Third Sunday of Easter
On the road to Emmaus: Jesus, alive and at our side

The Gospel of today’s Mass presents us with another appearance of Jesus on the evening of his Resurrection. Two disciples are making their way to the village of Emmaus, having lost all hope because Christ, in whom they had placed the whole meaning of their lives, was dead. Our Lord catches up with them, as if He too were just another traveler on the road, and walks with them without being recognized. They engage in broken conversation, as happens when people talk as they are going along. They speak about their preoccupation: what has happened in Jerusalem on the Friday evening—the death of Jesus of Nazareth. The Crucifixion of Our Lord had been a very severe test for the hopes of all those who considered themselves to be his disciples and who to some extent or another had placed their trust in him. Things had all taken place very quickly and they still hadn’t got over all they had seen with their very eyes.

These men who are returning to their home village after having celebrated the Paschal feast in Jerusalem show by the tone of their conversation their great sadness and how discouraged and disconcerted they are: We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. But now they speak of Jesus as a reality belonging to the past:

Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed…Notice the contrast. They say ‘who was!’…And He is there by their side. He is walking with them, in their company, trying to uncover the reason, the most intimate roots of their sadness!

’Who was!’, they say. We too, if only we would examine ourselves sincerely, with an attentive examination of our sadness, our discouragement, our being a little tired of life, would find a clear link with this Gospel passage. We would discover how we spontaneously remark ‘Jesus was’, ‘Jesus said’, because we forget that, just as one the road to Emmaus, Jesus is alive and by our side at this very moment. This is a discovery which enlivens our faith and revives our hope, a finding that points to Jesus as a joy that is ever present: Jesus is, Jesus prefers, Jesus says, Jesus commands now at this very moment (A. G. Dorronsoro, God and People)

Jesus lives.

These men did know about Christ’s promise of rising on the third day. They had heard that morning the message of the women who had seen the empty tomb and the angels. Things had been sufficiently clear for them to have nourished their faith and their hope; but instead, they speak of Christ as belonging to the past, as a lost opportunity. They are a living picture of discouragement. Their minds are in darkness and their hearts are numbed.

Christ Himself—whom they did not at first recognize but whose company and conversation they accept—interprets those events for them in the light of the Scriptures. Patiently He restores in them their faith and their hope. And the two of them recover also their joy and their love: Did not our hearts burn within us, they say later, while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?

It is possible that we too may sometimes meet with discouragement and lack of hope because of defects that we cannot manage to root out, or of difficulties in the apostolate or in our work that seem to be insurmountable…. On these occasions, provided we allow ourselves to be helped, Jesus will not allow us to be parted from him. Perhaps it will be in spiritual direction, once we open our souls in all sincerity, that we will come to see Our Lord again. And with him there will always come joy and the desire to begin again as soon as possible: And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. But it is essential that we allow ourselves to be helped, and that we are ready to be docile to the advice that we receive.
—Francis Fernandez, In Conversation with God, Daily Meditations Volume Two: Lent-Holy Week-Eastertide