Third Sunday of Easter
- · Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations
- · Today in Catholic History
- · Joke of the Day
- · Today’s Gospel Reading
- · Gospel Reflection
- · Reflection Prayer
- · Catholic Apologetics
- · Reflection on part of the SFO Rule
I wish to extend a SUPER happy birthday Pope Benedict XVI and Mother Angelica. To Octogenarians who are still young in heart ans faith.
† 296 – Death of Pope Caius (or Gaius)
† 536 – Death of Agapitus I, Italian Pope (535-36),
† 536 – Death of Pope Agapetus I
† 1073 – Pope Alexander II buried/Ildebrando chosen as Pope Gregory VII
† 1164 – Raynald of Dassel names Guido di Crema as anti-pope Paschalis III
† 1610 – Birth of Alexander VIII, [Pietro Ottoboni], Italy, lawyer/Pope (1689-91)
† 1994 – Death of D. Nauta, theologist/church historian/lawyer, at age 96
(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
“Today in Catholic History”
Today’s reflection: Jesus appears to His disciples [again] and shares a meal with them.
(NAB Luke 24:35-48) 35 Then the two [men on the road to Emmaus] recounted [to the disciples hiding in Jerusalem] what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. 36 While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38 Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? 39 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.” 40 And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of baked fish;43 he took it and ate it in front of them. 44 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.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. 46And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day 47 and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.
On the third Sunday of Easter, we continue to hear Gospel accounts of Jesus’ appearances to His disciples following His Resurrection. Luke’s Gospel, like each of the other Gospels (cf., Matthew 28:16–20; Mark 16:14–15; John 20:19–23), focuses on Jesus appearing to His disciples in Jerusalem and their commissioning for their future ministry. Luke goes further in having the risen Jesus appear to two men traveling back to their home, probably in or near Emmaus. These two men, no longer blinded to the risen Christ hurried back to Jerusalem, sought out Jesus’ disciples, and told them of their experience.
“Peace be with you.” (Luke 24:36).
Their response to Jesus, per today’s reading, was one of “startling terror”, thinking “they were seeing a ghost”! These are the VERY FIRST words Jesus says to His disciples AFTER they had abandoned Him to His accusers, torturers, and crucifiers. His first words were one of “peace” and not “What happened to you?” or “Where were you?” or “You abandoned me, why?”
I am sure Jesus’ disciples felt like they had betrayed Him, and knew and felt that they should have had a royal “chewing out” from Jesus, at a minimum. However, Jesus is God, who is pure love, and responded with a pure love for His disciples. How relieved and gratified were these startled, terrified men to know Jesus Christ not only DID rise from the dead, but also wished only “peace” for them personally – – AND for all that believed in Him.
“Peace be with you.” was a most appropriate greeting for a loving Jesus Christ. The disciples truly had the experience and shock of the death of someone they loved, and feared for their own safety and lives as well. “Peace” is what they needed more than anything else. Along with this greeting of “Peace”, Jesus gave another grace, another gift: “forgiveness”. The inherent linking of “peace” and “forgiveness” is quietly made in the final verses of today’s reading.
They thought they were seeing a “ghost”; yet the figure before them is not a “ghost”. Jesus invites them to experience His resurrected body with their senses, to look and to touch. The figure standing before them is truly flesh and bone, still bearing the marks of His crucifixion. Although the disciples cannot forget His suffering and death, “peace” begins to take root in their hearts, with their fears and turmoil turning to feelings of joy and amazement instead.
Jesus was NO “ghost”!! He is STILL as human NOW – TODAY – as He was on that day, and on the day he was crucified. He is the physical (and scriptural) proof that there truly is a “life after death” (physical death anyhow). He IS NOT just a divine memory; AND we are disciples of the LIVING Jesus, not just disciples of our memory of Him!
The disciples last saw Jesus as a weak and beaten man, who died – – as a human – – on the cross in a most humiliating and torturous way. Jesus seemed to be “powerless” over the events leading to His ultimate death. He certainly did not meet the expectations of who the Messiah was to be per Jewish tradition. If He WAS the Messiah, why did He allow this to happen to Him? Why would He allow Himself to be as humiliated and embarrassed as He was?
As further proof of His identity and of His resurrected body, Jesus eats with His disciples. The disciples have known Jesus best through the meals which He has shared with them. Descriptions of these meals are a defining element of Luke’s Gospel. By eating with his disciples after his Resurrection, Jesus recalls all these meals, and most importantly, he recalls the Last Supper.
Luke’s report of this Last Supper and the meals which Jesus shared with them after His Resurrection unveils for us the uniquely important significance of the Holy Eucharist. Having shared a meal with His disciples, Jesus Christ now uncovers for them the significance of what was written about Him in the Scriptures. Our celebration of the Mass is ALSO an encounter with Jesus – – in fact, the same uniquely important encounter as the disciples!! So, we encounter Him, this same Jesus, through the Liturgy of the Word and the Sacrament of the Eucharist which is literally the Sacrament of Thanksgiving. As Jesus commissioned His disciples to be witnesses to what Holy Scriptures foretold, OUR celebration of the Eucharist ALSO commissions US today. Like the first disciples, we too are sent to announce the “good news” of Jesus Christ, truly risen from the grave.
With His appearance to them, and eating with them, the disciples were given a grace and gift of a revelation in their individual and communal faiths. They were now able to believe more fully because they had seen the proof of Jesus’ new resurrected life, which they came to understand Jesus’ victory, thus overcoming sin, Satan, and death!
Luke is the only evangelist to mention Jesus’ eating with His disciples. Jesus didn’t come solely to be seen, to be touched, or to be heard; He came and ate with His disciples just as He did the night of His arrest. Jesus, still today, does not wish to be simply seen and heard, He wants to converse with each of us; He wants to share a meal with each of us – – personally, uniquely, and intimately – – ALWAYS!!
We are like the Apostles, especially Matthew; we don’t usually believe unless we see with our own eyes. The Gospels attest to the true reality of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection. Jesus goes to great lengths to prove to His disciples that He is no mere ghost or illusion – – no trick of the eye. He shows them the marks of His crucifixion, explaining how Holy Scripture foretold His suffering death AND rising. (Please read 1 Peter 1:10-12. It has a “glorious” connection to this last sentence.)
Jerome, an early church bible scholar, comments:
“As he showed them real hands and a real side, he really ate with his disciples; really walked with Cleophas; conversed with men with a real tongue; really reclined at supper; with real hands took bread, blessed and broke it, and was offering it to them … Do not put the power of the Lord on the level with the tricks of magicians, so that he may appear to have been what he was not, and may be thought to have eaten without teeth, walked without feet, broken bread without hands, spoken without a tongue, and showed a side which had no ribs.” (From a letter to Pammachius against John of Jerusalem 34, 5th century)
Jesus, on the Holy Cross, is one of the central aspects of the Gospels, but it DOESN’T JUST STOP there! Through His death on the cross, Jesus truly defeated our enemies – death, sin, and Satan; and won mercy & pardon for our sin. Jesus’ cross then, is the bridge to heaven and the way to paradise. So, the way to glory IS through the cross.
When the disciples saw the “Risen” Lord, they did not react to Him with “joy”; they reacted with “startle” and “fear”! After all, how can a death lead to life? How can a cross lead to glory? Well, only Jesus Christ could reveal to us the “joy” and “glory” of enduring suffering with faith to a new life. He gives each of us the power to overcome the fear, worry, and even despair caused by sin, Satan, and death. Just as the first disciples were commissioned to bring the “good news” of salvation to ALL the peoples of ALL the nations, both Jew and Gentile alike, so we too are called to be witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to all among whom we live – – EVERYWHERE and at ALL times.
Have you truly witnessed to the “joy” of the Gospels personally? Do you truly witness to the “joy” of the Gospels to those around you? As the Franciscans say, do you take the:
“Gospel to life and the life to Gospel”?
Hmm, is this something to think about for you?
To conclude, Catholic Christian life is sustained by God’s “Word” in Holy Scripture and by Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. We are especially sustained in our faith through our attendance and PARTICIPATION at our weekly (and hopefully daily) celebration of Mass. Today’s Gospel should remind us that Holy Scripture and the Eucharist are given to us so that OUR words and deeds of bearing witness to Christ might be strengthened.
Jesus came to His followers, not the inverse (other way around) – – AND He Still does today and will in the future!! Jesus took (and still takes) the initiative in overcoming sin, Satan, and death with us! Jesus provided (and still provides) His reassurance and promise of everlasting life! Jesus comes to us in the Holy Eucharist and through the Holy Spirit working in, with, and through each of us personally, intimately, and uniquely. All we have to do is to receive Him, to allow Him to dwell in us, and to let Him work through us each and every day. Really, all we have to do is simply to BELIEVE and to be His WITNESS in today’s society!! How? Well, as Saint Francis said to his brother friars:
“Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words.”
This week, think about the importance of memories and the importance of the meals you have shared together with family and friends, and will share in the future. Both, these memories and the anticipation of future meals, will strengthen the love you share for ALL involved. In a similar way, our Catholic Christian life is also strengthened by sharing God’s Word (memories) and the Eucharist (meal) at Mass. Recall the “mission” which Jesus gave to His disciples after their shared meal in today’s reading. The Holy Eucharist also sends us to be Christ’s witnesses in the world today. Pray that you, and each of us, will be strengthened by God’s “Word”, and by Jesus’ “presence” in the Holy Eucharist in order to be more faithful “witnesses” to our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ.
“With heads bowed let us now worship a sacrament so great;
And let the old teaching give way to the new;
Let faith reinforce our belief where the senses cannot.
To the Father and the Son let there be praise and jubilation,
Salvation, honor, virtue, and also blessing;
To the Holy Spirit let there be equal praise. Amen.”
My reason and purpose for this section on my blog is to provide “scriptural confirmation” for our beliefs and doctrines, not to cause dissention or opposition with my fellow believers in Jesus Christ, yet not in union with the Roman Catholic Church. Whether God speaks to us through the “Bible”, or through “Tradition”, it is the Holy Spirit that inspires the “Word” from which all authentic tradition flows.
Tradition can be separated into two aspects: oral and behavioral. Oral tradition includes written forms. After all, it ALL started with oral tradition. Behavioral tradition includes Baptism, Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, Lying on of hands or healing, Intercessory prayer, and Ordination.
All Scriptural verses are taken from both the Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible and the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
Honor Due to the Virgin Mary
“And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?’” (Luke 1:41-43) RSV.
“And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:41-43) RSV.
“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name’” (Luke 1:46-49) KJV.
“And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.” (Luke 1:46-49) KJV.
23. Requests for admission to the Secular Franciscan Order must be presented to the local fraternity, whose council decides upon the acceptance of new brothers and sisters.
Admission into the Order is gradually attained through a time of initiation, a period of formation of at least one year, and profession of the rule. The entire community is engaged in the process of growth by its own manner of living. The age for profession and the distinctive Franciscan sign are regulated by the statutes.
Profession by its nature is a permanent commitment.
Members who find themselves in particular difficulties should discuss their problems with the council in fraternal dialogue. Withdrawal or permanent dismissal from the Order, if necessary, is an act of the fraternity council according to the norm of the constitutions.
24. To foster communion among members, the council should organize regular and frequent meetings of the community as well as meeting with other Franciscan groups, especially with youth groups. It should adopt appropriate means for growth in Franciscan and ecclesial life and encourage everyone to a life of fraternity. The communion continues with deceased brothers and sisters through prayer for them.