Reflections on the Daily Readings

April 12 - 27, 2019
The Season of Easter - Easter Week
Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle I.
Divine Office - Psalter Proper.

Sunday 21:          Easter Sunday
Acts 10:34, 37-43; Psalm 117; Colossians 3:1-4 (or 1Corinthians 5:6-8); John 20:1-9
Our first reading today comes from the Acts of the Apostles and sees St Peter in the house of a centurion named Cornelius, who had sent for Peter at God’s instruction. Cornelius and his household were God-fearing people and the testimony of Peter strengthens the faith of the household. Peter speaks about the work which Jesus had been doing, how he had fallen victim to the work of the devil, but how he had been resurrected from the dead. Peter can speak about these because he was a witness to the Risen Lord and had eaten and drunk with him after the resurrection. Peter also proclaims that this Jesus is the one whom the prophets of old had foretold. The Psalm is a hymn of praise for this great day: the day of the Resurrection of the Lord.
In the second reading from the letter to the Colossians, the author reminds the people that Jesus is the Christ and that he is seated at the right hand of God in the Kingdom. Therefore, the people should look to Christ and to a new way of living if they too are to inherit the Kingdom. He reminds them that they too have died with Christ and have risen to a new life: this reminds us of baptism in which we are washed clean in the waters of baptism and so should live a life of faith, a new life different to the rest of society but one which should be an example of faith to the rest of society.
In the alternative second reading, from his first letter to the people of Corinth, St Paul exhorts the people to be perfect as individuals if the community is to be perfect. As a small amount of yeast is enough to leaven all the dough, so a small sin on the part of an individual is enough to bring disrepute on the entire community. Nothing is to be regarded as trivial or too small to be rooted out or overlooked but everyone must seek after perfection. This is also a reminder that sin, no matter how small, has a community context and impact.
The gospel tells of the finding of the empty tomb and the realisation that scripture and the teachings of Jesus had pointed to this moment: the Resurrection of Christ. Mary and other unnamed women come to the tomb early in the morning and find it empty. Mary runs back to the disciples to tell them that the body is gone, that others have taken it, that they don’t know where Jesus is. This has echoes of Moses whose burial place is unknown, but this also clearly shows that Jesus is not Moses, that Jesus is greater than Moses because Jesus is alive and lives for ever. When Peter and John reach the tomb the key thing that is noted are the burial cloths which are left neatly in the tomb. They are important because if the body had been stolen it would have been left wrapped in its cloths, but their neat arrangement suggests something else has happened. It is clear that the Beloved Disciple is the first to understand what has happened and that faith came to him at that moment, that he understood the Lord’s teachings that he would rise from the dead.

Monday 22:         Of Easter Week
Acts 2:14, 22-33; Psalm 15; Matthew 28:8-15
Today’s readings testify to the Resurrection of Christ. St Peter, along with his fellow disciples, is speaking to a crowd and speaking to them of Christ and is part of the first ever Christian sermon. The basis for his preaching and that of the apostles is clearly their own personal encounter with the Risen Lord. Like the sermons recorded in the Acts of the Apostles they are personal testaments to the death and resurrection of Christ. In the gospel, Jesus appears to the women and tells them to go and get the disciples and to tell them to go to Galilee where he will meet them. Galilee represented normality and everyday life for the disciples and it reminds us that we too will find Christ in the normality of our lives.

Tuesday 23:         Of Easter Week
Acts 2:36-41; Psalm 32; John 20:11-18
Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles is a continuation of yesterday’s reading and in it we see St Peter still teaching the people. So moved are the people by his personal testimony that they believe in his message and in Christ as their Risen Lord and Saviour. Peter begins by telling the people how they had put to death the promised Messiah. That day, we are told, about 3,000 people converted to Christianity. Today’s gospel text is a further telling of the Resurrection, this time from St John. Here we see Christ talking to Mary Magdalene and telling her to tell the disciples that he has risen and is preparing to ascend to the Father, who is also our Father.

Wednesday 24:    Of Easter Week
Acts 3:1-10; Psalm 104; Luke 24:13-35
St Peter and his fellow disciples have been strengthened by the Resurrection of Christ and are now going about preaching his message and curing the people in his name. Today we see them run into conflict with the Jewish authorities for doing the very things that the authorities had crucified Jesus for. The disciples are aware of this and yet they continue unafraid. The gospel text is the familiar story of Christ’s appearance to two of his followers on the road to Emmaus. They only recognise him at the breaking of bread because they had not believed all that he had told them while he was still alive. The breaking of the bread is also a reminder to them of the importance Christ placed on his institution of the Eucharist and of the necessity of doing this in his memory. When they did realise that it was the Lord, their hearts burned with joy. When did our hearts last burn with joy in the presence of Christ in the Blessed Eucharist? We are called on to have faith like Peter and the disciples and to openly proclaim our faith in Christ.

Thursday 25:       Of Easter Week
Acts 3:11-26; Psalm 8; Luke 24:35-48
In the Acts of the Apostles we again see St Peter and the disciples proclaiming the message of Christ and his Resurrection. Peter also insists that it was trust in the name of Jesus that cured the lame man in our text. The “you” of the last paragraph is addressed very strongly to today’s listeners. Today’s gospel passage tells of the first encounter the disciples as a group have with the Risen Jesus. He comes to visit them and they are afraid but, having touched him, they believe. He opens their minds so that they understand clearly that his life is a fulfilment of all that sacred scripture had said about the Messiah.

Friday 26:            Of Easter Week
Acts 4:1-12; Psalm 117; John 21:1-14
In our reading from the Acts of the Apostles for today, St Peter addresses the elders who have arrested himself and St John. He tells them that there is only one name in all the world that can save us and that is the name of Christ. It is strengthening to see Peter – a former fisherman from Galilee – taking on the most powerful of the Jewish authorities and boldly proclaiming the very things that they forbid Jesus from proclaiming and ultimately put him to death for. Today’s gospel text from John tells of another meeting with Jesus and the disciples after the Resurrection. The meeting we read of today took place by the Sea of Tiberias. When the disciples come ashore they find that Jesus has prepared breakfast for them and as they gather he gives bread to them – reminding them of what he did in the upper room on Holy Thursday night and of his instruction to repeat that sacred action.

Saturday 27:        Of Easter Week
Acts 4:13-21; Psalm 117; Mark 16:9-15
Today’s first reading continues with the trial of St Peter and St John before the elders of the people. They are warned not to preach about Christ again but they reply by saying that they cannot promise this – so strong is their belief in Christ now. We also see that the authorities are once again afraid of public opinion which is in favour of the apostles and their message. The text from St Mark’s gospel tells us of the meeting of Christ with his disciples. They have not accepted the word of those who said they had seen the risen Lord and he rebukes them for their lack of faith. The gospel ends with the great mandate to “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News.” The commitment of Peter and John in the first reading shows that they have taken this mandate to heart and are actively carrying it out. This mandate is also given to each of us to carry on no matter where we find ourselves in life.

Memorials this Week:

© P. Breen, O.Carm. 2011, 2013
The Reflections above are available in printed form in:
Reflections on the Readings for every day of the Church's year.
Patrick J. Breen, O.Carm. Dublin: Columba Press. 2011. ISBN 978 1 85607 732 3.

And direct from the publishers: Columba Press, Dublin.

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