Reflections on the Daily Readings
April 20 - 26, 2014.
The Season of Easter - Easter Week.
Readings: Sunday Cycle A; Weekday Cycle II.
Divine Office - Psalter Proper.
Sunday 20: Easter Sunday
Acts 10:34, 37-43; Psalm 117; Colossians 3:1-4 (or 1Corinthians 5:6-8); John 20:1-9
In the reading from the Acts of the Apostles, St Peter is proclaiming the Risen Lord and saying that not only has Christ risen but he has also appeared to his followers, and Peter himself has witnessed this. The Psalm is a hymn of praise for this day – the day of the Resurrection of the Lord. St Paul in his letter to the Colossians speaks of us becoming new people, living as Christ commanded, and looking to heaven and to God for that is where our future lies. The gospel tells of the finding of the empty tomb and the realisation that scripture had pointed to this moment – the Resurrection of Christ.
Monday 21: Easter Monday
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 22: Easter Tuesday
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 23: Easter Wednesday
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 24: Easter Thursday
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 25: Easter Friday
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 26: Easter Saturday
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
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.