READINGS for 2006-04-16

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

EASTER SUNDAY

LAST TWO MINUTES

This man God raised (on) the third day and granted that he be visible?. ? Acts 10:39-40

I watched The Passion of the Christ. As soon as the violent and brutal scourging of Jesus began, my tears started to roll. And then they turned into sobs.
       Towards the end, my eyes were puffy from crying. But the darkness and heaviness of the film lifted when the scene showed Jesus in the tomb. A bright light shone and the crucified Lord stood up, His scars the only remnant of the brutality He endured.      At that moment, I wanted to stand up and shout, ?HALLELUJAH!? After all that gore and torture, my Savior had prevailed. He is risen! Jesus is alive! 
      Many times, we live through our own version of The Passion. A marriage falls apart. A parent discovers her child is into drugs. A husband is terminated from his job. A loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
      The sorrow seems endless. But then the ?last two minutes? come.
      And all we can do is shout, ?HALLELUJAH!? Rissa S.

REFLECTION:
When it seems you are living out your own Passion, keep the faith. Resurrection is not far behind.

Lord, You paid a high price for my salvation. Thank You for the greatest gift I have ever received.

COMPANION

1st READING

Acts 10:34.37-43

What appears to be victory for the powers of sin and death when Jesus dies on the cross is completely reversed when we take into account the resurrection of Jesus. This event is unprecedented, unheard of in any religion of the world. It is unique to Christianity. It is easy to see how the death of God could be a scandal, but the resurrection can be nothing other than a glorious victory and proclamation of the absolute power of God over the entire universe! Not even death could hold God under its spell. We are certainly fortunate and blessed to have God such as this on our side in the battle against sin and evil.

34 Then Peter proceeded to speak and said, ?In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. 37 what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 We are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and [in] Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. 40 This man God raised [on] the third day and granted that he be visible, 41 not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.?

P S A L M

Psalm 118:1-2,   16-17, 22-23

R: This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever. 2 Let the house of Israel say, ?His mercy endures forever.? (R) 16 The right hand of the LORD is exalted; the right hand of the LORD has struck with power. 17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. (R) 22 The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 23 By the LORD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes. (R)

2nd READING

Colossians 3:1-4 (Or 1Corinthians 5:6-8)

Both of these texts from Paul?s letters encourage us to live in Christ according to the truth of His resurrection, that is, His victory of sin and death. This call is fundamental to our lives as Christians. We are called to rejoice in the goodness of God to us and never allow the despondency and horror of sin to govern the way we live our lives. Paul speaks from the experience of a tremendous conversion to the Gospel of salvation. He knows what it means to move from a life of self-focus to one of entrusting all into the hands of God.

1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.

G O S P E L

John 20:1-9

I am pretty sure that the disciples? understanding of the meaning of the resurrection of Jesus would have been a growing reality. It is unlikely that they would have understood the full significance of the event at this time. As they moved forward according to the leading of the Holy Spirit, they would have come to a greater realization of the meaning of the teachings of Jesus during His time of ministry and how they apply to them in the light of His resurrection. Let us accept that we will grow in our understanding and application of this truth in our own lives and let us seek to be faithful to it.

1 On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, ?They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don?t know where they put him.? 3 So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. 4 They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; 5 he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. 6 When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, 7 and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. 8 Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. 9 For they did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead.

my reflections
think:
Let us accept that we will grow in understanding.

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God?s special verse/thought for me today______________________

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T O D A Y ? S BLESSING LIST

Thank You Lord for: ______________________________________

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READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR 1Chronicles 27-29

SABBATH PAUSE
 

My weekly time with God

THANK YOU LIST

Things to be grateful for from the past week

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SPECIAL NEEDS

Things to ask God for in the coming week

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HIDDEN TREASURE

Most important word God told me this week

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SABBATH

THE HEART OF THE RESURRECTION

When someone we love dies,   we feel an unspeakable loss. The death of a loved one maps out for us a future where there will always be a large absence. Oftentimes the finality of the loss is so immense that there is a denial of death itself. This experience proved true for my family when my father passed away in 1998.
        After his death, I heard my sisters say they ?saw? Daddy on a street corner, followed him, only to be confronted with the puzzled face of a stranger. My eldest sister told of ?seeing? our father picking up his apo from school one day. Other people have their own stories to tell about how they ?hear? the footsteps of their loved ones. Some even claim they received a telephone call from the dearly departed. The greater the love, the greater the loss. The greater the loss, the greater the denial. Sometimes the denial even takes the form of searching for the dead.
        Mary Magdalene was no different. She loved Jesus. Jesus died. She could not bring herself to accept her loss. But she went to the tomb of Jesus and expected a rendezvous with death. In the Gospel today, John paints for us the scene of Mary Magdalene?s visit to the tomb: ?It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark?.? The darkness of that early Sunday morning was nothing compared to the darkness that shrouded her grieving heart. And as an empty tomb welcomed her, her heart became heavier. She ran and went to Simon Peter and John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, and, perhaps frantic, told them: ?They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don?t know where they put Him.?
        Mary Magdalene?s reaction to the empty tomb was not immense relief that Jesus was not dead. She did not cheat herself with that mad groundless hope. The only conclusion she could come to was that some unknown people ? perhaps, His enemies ? must have stolen the dead body of her Lord. She thought that even in death, Jesus was not allowed to rest in peace. However, little did she know that she was actually seeking the living among the dead. Later on, the risen Jesus showed Himself to her and made her recognize Him by calling out her name. Then she would come to the faith that He has truly risen from the dead.

      When Simon Peter and the Beloved Disciple heard Mary?s story about the empty tomb, they ran to see for themselves the veracity of another woman?s tale. John, the Beloved Disciple, outran Peter and reached the tomb first. John did not enter but waited at the entrance of the tomb, for although he was the beloved among the Twelve, he respected the first in authority. Peter was the first in authority. When Peter entered the tomb he saw the burial clothes; the Gospel today tells us nothing more about Peter than this. But the same Gospel tells us something more about John: when the Beloved Disciple entered the tomb he saw and he believed. 
Why?
      Because the John the Beloved reached more than the tomb first. He reached the heart of the matter faster. He saw and he believed: Jesus is alive! Beloved disciples are always the first to get to the heart of the Resurrection. For the heart of the Resurrection is love.

      The urgency of his love got John to the tomb first. The sensitivity of his love made him the first to believe, too. And later when Jesus would stand unrecognized on the shore of Lake Tiberias after the resurrection, it would also be John the Beloved who would tell Peter: ?It is the Lord.? If Peter enjoyed the primacy of authority, the Beloved Disciple enjoyed the primacy of love. This takes nothing away from Peter: it just means, in the words of St. Paul, ?if love can persuade? it can get you to the point quicker! 

     The heart of the Resurrection is love, it is the Father?s liberating love for Jesus, His Beloved Son. Resurrection is the Father?s response to the cross, His defiant answer to a world that hoped violence could silence Jesus and keep Him in its hold. In raising Jesus from the dead, the Father raised every value that Jesus stood for, every story that Jesus told, every preference that Jesus made, every purpose that Jesus pursued. All this is given new life and new significance with the Father raising His Beloved Son from the dead. Death can never be the last word about Jesus. By the sheer energy of His Father?s love, by the Father?s resounding appreciation for His humble love, Jesus was wakened to new life by His Father?s applause. The dead Jesus had no choice but to rise to the occasion. 
      Love makes us rise. Love boosts. It was love that lifted up the face of the weeping Mary Magdalene beside the empty tomb and see Jesus. It was love that called out her name, ?Mary.?
      John the Beloved was truly favored even more. He was present in all the great
  miracles of Jesus, including His transfiguration on Mount Tabor. He was allowed by Jesus to recline on His chest during the Last Supper. He stood at the foot of the cross when Jesus was dying. Jesus trusted John the Beloved so much so that He entrusted to him His mother. Thus, when Jesus rose from the dead, what John saw was not a mere empty tomb but a promise fulfilled: ?on the third day, I shall rise again.? The Beloved Disciple saw and believed.
       It is love that begets faith. It is love that makes us see. It is love that heals. It is love that redeems. The heart of the Resurrection is love. Fr. Bobby T.

REFLECTION QUESTION: 
The measure of my love is the same measure of my faith in the Resurrection.

Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me. It is Your love that makes me see life beyond the grave. It is Your love that makes me recognize You even beneath my tears. It is Your faithful love that makes me see and believe. Help me to love others as You love me so that they, too, may see You and believe in Your Resurrection. Amen.

St. Marie Bernarde Soubirous, virgin, pray for us.




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