Sunday, April 15, 2018

Homily

My brothers and sisters in Christ, today, all three readings from the Holy Scriptures echo that Jesus suffered for the forgiveness of sins.

During the First Reading, you heard the words, "God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out." [Acts 3:18-9]

During the Second Reading, you heard, "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world." [1 Jn. 2:2]

And, during the Gospel, you heard me read, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem." [Lk. 24:46-7]

When reflecting on the atoning sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus for our sins, what comes to my mind is the model life of St. Maximilian Kolbe who was canonized in October, 1982. Born in Poland in 1894, when he was old enough to answer God's calling, Maximilian joined the religious congregation of the Franciscans. By 1927, he had founded a house for those who wished to enter the religious life.

In 1941, while appointed as the superior of the Polish community, he was arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned at Auschwitz. Twelve weeks after his arrival at the prison camp, a prisoner escaped. In retaliation, ten men were chosen at random to die of starvation. One of the chosen men was a young father. Shining in the love of Jesus, Father Maximilian offered to take the place of the young man. The offer was accepted and on August 14, 1941, Fr. Maximilian died of starvation.

In this act of self-sacrifice, we perceive true Christian love. Here, one man gave his life for another on the day of judgment, when the young father was condemned to death. With Jesus, it was different. Rather then waiting for us to be condemned to death on Judgment Day because of the sinful nature that we have inherited from our first parents and the personal sins that we have committed against our Lord, Jesus offered Himself as our atoning sacrifice before we were born. Now, when we will appear before the Lord God on Judgment Day, Jesus shall be our Mediator. He shall testify on our behalf that He who was sinless, washed away our sins through His Blood as the Lamb of God.

As was foretold through all the prophets of the Old Testament, the Author of life, our Messiah Jesus was called to suffer for our sins. To this, the disciples of Jesus were witnesses.

Having died for our sins, for the sins of the whole world, each and everyone of us has a free will to turn to Jesus in order to accept His sacrifice as our substitute or to reject the grace of God. If we accept the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, we must repent of our sins with a sincerity of heart. Then, we must obey the Commandments of God that are found in the Holy Bible and that are placed before us through the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church.

Those who obeyed the commandments of God as Father Maximilian obeyed them, they have come to know God. In them, the love of God has reached perfection. By embracing the same obedience to the Commandments in the love of Jesus Christ, we know that we are in Jesus and that Jesus is in us.

When Jesus appeared to His disciples to command them to proclaim repentance and the forgiveness of sins to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem, the disciples were startled and terrified. They thought that they were seeing a ghost."

But no, the disciples were not seeing a ghost. They were in the presence of Jesus glorified. As Jesus said, "A ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." Nor can a ghost, having a spiritual body, eat food that is physical in nature. But, in the presence of His disciples, Jesus did eat. Therefore, it is certain that the presence of Jesus was not the presence of His Spirit.

Today's reading from the Gospel of Luke is an interesting passage because it gives us a spiritual perception of the nature of the Holy Ghost who was given to the world on Pentecost Day.

Throughout the Holy Bible, in the Old and New Testament, numerous references are found to the Holy Spirit as being the Spirit of God. Some of these passages are found in: Gen. 41:38; Mt. 3:16; Rom. 8;9; 1 Cor. 2:11; Eph. 4:30; 1 Pet. 4:14; and 1 Jn. 4:2. There are also a reference to the Spirit of the living God. [2 Cor. 3:3]

Elsewhere in the Holy Bible, a reference is found to the Holy Spirit as being the Spirit of the Father. [Mt. 10:20]

There are references to the Spirit of the Lord. [Is. 61:1; Lk. 4:18; Acts 8:39; 2 Cor. 3:17, 8] Some of these references are to the Spirit of the Lord God of the Old Testament (God the Father) while others refer to the Spirit of the Lord as Jesus. In another passage, the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of God's Son. [Gal. 4:6]

There are also references to the Spirit of Christ. [Rom. 8:9; 1 Pet. 1:11] One Bible passage refers to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Jesus Christ. [Phil. 1:19]

By perceiving that the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of God is the same Spirit of the Lord Jesus, we have a greater appreciation of the nature of the Divine Presence of the Holy Spirit who continues the ministry of Christ on earth.

Jesus commanded us to proclaim repentance and the forgiveness of sins throughout the whole world. This calling can only be achieved by the grace of God the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit in the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

As we continue with the celebration of the Holy Mass, let us keep in mind that Jesus suffered in our place for the forgiveness of our sins. Let us call upon the Spirit of Christ to teach us to perceive the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, the tremendous love that Jesus has for each and everyone of us.

Prayer and Meditation

Lord Jesus, open our minds to understand the Scriptures that we may fully comprehend the truth of your word. Anoint us with your power and give us joy and boldness to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed.

Lord, I believe that you are present here and now as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.

Meditation from Regnum Christi;


Petition: Lord, increase my faith in your presence in the Eucharist and in my life.
 
1. Jesus Is Made Known in the Breaking of the Bread: This passage follows Christ’s encounter with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. They returned to Jerusalem and reported to the other disciples what they had seen in the Breaking of the Bread – the name the early Church gave to the Eucharist celebration. Luke was not simply recording an apparition of the Risen Lord, he was also teaching that this same Lord is present in the Eucharist.
 
Jesus loves us, as he revealed so clearly on Calvary. He wants to forgive us our sins and give us eternal life. Not satisfied with the gift of himself on Calvary, he desires to continue giving himself to us and to remain with us always. The Eucharist is a sign of his tremendous love. It is the source and summit of our spiritual life. It is a mystery that we need to meditate upon daily and to experience as frequently as possible in our lives.
 
2. Peace I Give You: Jesus promised his disciples peace: “Peace I give you” (John 14:27). He would give them his peace – a peace not of this world. If we are convinced of his love, what have we to fear? If we are convinced that he is with us, why be anxious about anything? So, he asks his disciples, “Why are you troubled?” They were witnesses to his love on the cross and the glory of his resurrection. They were witnesses to his power and his goodness. If God is for us, who can be against us? Are we troubled? What weighs on our heart and mind? What robs us of our sleep and peace? We need to give it to Jesus. We need to remind ourselves of his love and presence and his gift of peace. As often as worries assail us, we need to go to Jesus and meditate on these things.
 
3. You Are Witnesses: Jesus still needs witnesses today. How many people don’t know him? How many people don’t know of his love and are still burdened by sin? We who have received the gift of faith have an obligation to share it with others. The world needs witnesses. The world needs to see lives transformed by grace, coherent Catholics who live the faith they profess. We also need to witness to the transforming power of Christ in the Eucharist. Do I bring my family and friends closer to Our Lord in the Eucharist?
 
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I place my worries in your hands. Help me to keep trusting in your providence. Be with me today and help me to live what I believe. I know you are with me, but I have a hard time sharing my faith with others. Give me the courage I need to speak of you and your love. I know that they need you; give me the prudence to know what to do and what to say.

Resolution: Today I will transmit love for Christ in the Eucharist to someone who is close to me.

Third Sunday of Easter

Image result for third sunday of easter 2018

Reading 1 Acts 3:13-15, 17-19

Peter said to the people:
"The God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus,
whom you handed over and denied in Pilate's presence
when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One
and asked that a murderer be released to you.
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
Now I know, brothers,
that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;
but God has thus brought to fulfillment
what he had announced beforehand
through the mouth of all the prophets,
that his Christ would suffer.
Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9

R. (7a) Lord, let your face shine on us.
or:
R. Alleluia.
When I call, answer me, O my just God,
you who relieve me when I am in distress;
have pity on me, and hear my prayer!
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Know that the LORD does wonders for his faithful one;
the LORD will hear me when I call upon him.
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
or:
R. Alleluia.
O LORD, let the light of your countenance shine upon us!
You put gladness into my heart.
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
or:
R. Alleluia.
As soon as I lie down, I fall peacefully asleep,
for you alone, O LORD,
bring security to my dwelling.
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 1 Jn 2:1-5a

My children, I am writing this to you
so that you may not commit sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous one.
He is expiation for our sins,
and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.
The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep
his commandments.
Those who say, "I know him," but do not keep his commandments
are liars, and the truth is not in them.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.

Alleluia Cf. Lk 24:32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us;
make our hearts burn while you speak to us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 24:35-48

The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way,
and how Jesus was made known to them
in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
"Peace be with you."
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, "Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have."
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, "Have you anything here to eat?"
They gave him a piece of baked fish;
he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them,
"These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of Moses
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled."
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them,
"Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things."

Homily

My brothers and sisters in Christ, today, all three readings from the Holy Scriptures echo that Jesus suffered for the forgiveness of sins ...