Reflections on the Daily Readings

April 18 - 24, 2021
The Season of Easter - The Third Week
Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle I.
Divine Office - Psalter Week III.

Sunday 18:          Third Sunday of Easter
Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; Psalm 4; 1John 2:1-5; Luke 24:35-48
In our first reading we see St Peter still teaching the people about Christ and telling them that they had betrayed the Prince of Life for a murderer. However, despite the gravity of the charge he lays against them he goes on to tell them that they will be saved if they repent of their sins and return to God. In the second reading St John tells us that all our sins are taken away by Christ who is our advocate before the Father, so we should never despair when we do wrong but should turn to God in confidence knowing that his love is far greater than ours. In our gospel, we have St Luke’s account of the appearance of Jesus to the disciples. He greets them and then shows them his wounds and invites them to touch him so that they can see that it really is him. They heard others tell about seeing him and yet they still doubted the veracity of the resurrection. But now he teaches them again and they come to see that all that is happening has been foretold in scripture. We too are called on to have true faith in the risen Lord because he is still merciful and will intercede for us before the Father no matter how often we fall. The Lord reminds us that repentance is to be preached to the whole world and that we are to do the preaching.

Monday 19:         Of the Third Week of Easter
Acts 6:8-15; Psalm 118; John 6:22-29
Today’s first reading sees the arrest of St Stephen for proclaiming the message of Christ and the Gospel. Stephen is undaunted because all that he says is being guided by the Holy Spirit and Stephen is content – so much so that “his face appeared to them like the face of an angel.” In the gospel, we have the continuation of the sixth chapter of St John and in it we see the people following Jesus because they want more of the bread that he had given them. He tells them that the bread they must work and long for is the bread of eternal life and that they must believe in him. We are called to believe in Christ even to the point of suffering for him like Stephen did.

Tuesday 20:         Of the Third Week of Easter
Acts 7:51-8:1; Psalm 30; John 6:30-35
The reading from the Acts of the Apostles tells of the trial of St Stephen and of how he tells those who are persecuting him that they have killed the long-awaited Messiah. However, Stephen finds comfort in the knowledge that the Messiah is waiting to receive him in to eternal life and so Stephen becomes the first martyr for Christ. As he dies, Stephen asks God to forgive those who have persecuted him. The words of the Psalm could easily have come from Stephen’s lips as he was being martyred. The people in the gospel ask Christ for bread and remind him of the manna in the desert. He tells them that the only true bread is the bread of life – which is himself. We are called to put our total trust in Christ and in the Father as Stephen did.

Wednesday 21:    Of the Third Week of Easter
Acts 8:1-8; Psalm 65; John 6:35-40
Our reading today from the Acts of the Apostles shows that the persecution of the early Church did not end with the death of the first martyr – Stephen. It increased and we are now introduced to one of the greatest of those persecutors – Saul of Tarsus. Many now leave the area but as they travel they spread the Gospel wherever they go. In the gospel text for today, Jesus speaks of himself as the bread of life and that those who believe in him shall have eternal life. Again, the readings this week remind us of what took place during the Triduum and of what has been won for us: salvation and eternal life. We are reminded to believe in Christ and in him alone.

Thursday 22:       Of the Third Week of Easter
Acts 8:26-40; Psalm 65; John 6:44-51
The Acts of the Apostles today tells of St Philip and his work of preaching and baptising in the name of Christ as he travelled. On one of his journeys he meets an Ethiopian official who is having difficulty understanding some of the texts from the Prophet Isaiah. Philip travels with the official and begins to tell him about Christ as the suffering servant the official has been reading about. The official then asks for baptism. The Psalm could have been used by Philip as he travelled and preached. Today’s gospel continues the theme of yesterday’s text – Christ is the bread of life and we are all called to believe in him in order to have eternal life.

Friday 23:            Of the Third Week of Easter
Acts 9:1-20; Psalm 116; John 6:52-59
Today we read of the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus, an event of major significance for the early Church. The event had such a profound effect on Saul that he became a firm believer in Christ and became a fearless preacher of the Good News. The gospel is from the sixth chapter of St John’s gospel in which Jesus is clarifying all that he has said so far about being the bread of life which brings eternal life to the believers who receive him into their hearts. With the image of the conversion of St Paul before us today we are challenged to look closely at our lives and to accept Christ as our Saviour and so spread the Good News of the kingdom wherever we may go.

Saturday 24:        Of the Third Week of Easter
Acts 9:31-42; Psalm 115; John 6:60-69
As we continue reading from the Acts of the Apostles we see that with the conversion of Saul (who now goes by his Roman name of ‘Paul’ rather than the Jewish ‘Saul’) the Christians are now free to preach and to proclaim the Risen Christ. St Peter continues his travels and in the name of Christ he cures people and restores the dead to life. In our gospel text for today we come to the end of our reading of St John’s sixth chapter and we see that many who have been listening to Christ are unable to believe or to accept what he has been saying about being the bread of life. When he asks the apostles what they think, Peter replies that there is nobody else to go to for he is the one who has the message of eternal life. This is the faith that we are called to profess.

Memorials this Week:

© P. Breen, O.Carm. 2011, 2013

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.

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