Knowing Jesus More Deeply through Reading and Reflecting on Scriptures
|1st Reading:||Acts 2:14, 22-33|
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11
Rejoicing in God’s Divine Mercy and Love, A Foundation of Our Lives
Jesus came . . . and stood in their midst. (John 20:26)
Jesus had appeared to the disciples on Easter Sunday. So why did he come a week later to the exact same place? Perhaps it was because this time Thomas was there, and Jesus wanted to convince this doubt-ridden disciple that he had truly risen from the dead.
Jesus could have stayed away, but he didn’t want to leave Thomas in that state. So he invited Thomas to touch his wounds and see that it was really him. And that act of compassion and patience—that act of mercy—led Thomas to proclaim, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). Eventually, that mercy would lead Thomas to travel far and wide proclaiming the gospel and, in the end, give his life for his Lord.
Thomas’ story shows us that God’s mercy involves more than just the forgiveness of our sins, great as that is. It also involves his compassion for our weakness and his patience with our slow progress. It’s a wide mercy that frees us from our doubts, fears, and guilt as well as our sin. Like Thomas, it allows us to experience Jesus’ divine life more fully so that we can follow him wherever he leads us.
In the end, God’s mercy cannot be separated from his love. He is love and he is mercy—that is his very nature. Every day Jesus comes and stands in our midst, desiring to show us that he is our Lord and God. Every day he wants to take away our doubts and fears and forgive our every sin. Every day he wants to open us to more of his life and blessings.
Don’t ever underestimate the power of divine mercy! As you continue to read from the Book of Acts this Easter season, know that every miracle the apostles did, every word they spoke, was grounded in the mercy they had first received—and continued receiving to the end of their lives. God’s mercy is the foundation of your life too, a mercy that is new every morning, a mercy that will never, ever end (Lamentations 3:22-23)!
“Jesus, I trust in you!”
Sunday, April 26, 2020
Questions for Reflection or Discussion:
- The first reading opens with these words of Peter: Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs, which God worked through him in your midst … This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God, you killed, using lawless men to crucify him. But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death. The reading closes with these words: God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses. Exalted at the right hand of God, he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father and poured him forth.
- How do you think Peter, in spite of being an uneducated fisherman, got such a gift to proclaim the Gospel?
- If we believe that we as Catholics have the ability to proclaim the Gospel through the power of the Spirit that dwells in us, what keeps us from sharing it with others? How can you overcome some of these obstacles?
- Do you believe that if you are willing to spend time, prior to the start of Mass, reflecting on the Mass readings, perhaps, like the Emmaus Road disciples, your heart will burn as the Scriptures are read and explained at Mass?
- The responsorial psalm opens as follows: Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge. … O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup, you it is who hold fast my lot … even in the night my heart exhorts me. It continues as follows: I set the Lord ever before me; with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed. Therefore, my heart is glad and my soul rejoices, my body, too, abides in confidence; because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption. You will show me the path to life.
- In what ways do the opening words allow the psalmist to keep his mind and heart fixed on the Lord?
- How can you, like the psalmist, take some steps to do the same?
- The ending words of the psalm are quoted by Peter in the first reading as a prophetic word on Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. In what ways are these words related to Jesus’ resurrection?
- The second reading opens as follows: Beloved: If you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one’s works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct…not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ. It ends as follows: He was known before the foundation of the world but revealed in the final time for you, who through him believe in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
- Do you believe that reflecting more on the fact that you were ransomed from your futile conduct … with the precious blood of Christ will help you to conduct yourself with reverence? Why or why not? Any examples?
- In what way has the fact that Jesus has been revealed in the final time for you allowed you to believe in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God?
- The Gospel reading describes the Emmaus Road meeting with Jesus by two of his disciples after his resurrection. During the initial encounter, he said to them, “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures. Later on that night, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.
- The Scriptures do more than teach us about Jesus—they reveal him to us. Why do you think that in spite of all that Jesus said to the disciples using the Scriptures that referred to him, they still did not initially recognize him?
- Why do you believe that it was not until Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them that he was made known to them? How do the events described in this reading apply to us today, especially at Mass?
- The meditation begins with these words: “Have you ever heard the word kerygma? It’s a Greek word that means ‘the proclamation.’ Today’s first reading … is one clear example of the Church’s kerygma, the key events that are at the heart of our faith.” It goes on to describe how Peter’s words proclaims various aspects of the It ends with these words: “This kerygma is not just a set of truths to be believed. It’s the story of our redemption. It’s a series of promises that we can experience: Physical and spiritual healing. Forgiveness. Eternal life. The Holy Spirit. This is your heritage. This is everything Jesus died to secure for you. This is how much he loves you and treasures you.”
- The meditation describes four “aspects of the kerygma” in “Peter’s Pentecost sermon.” Which of these four are most important to you?
- The ending words tell us that “This kerygma is not just a set of truths to be believed. It’s the story of our redemption.” Which of the truths described in the meditation have you personally experienced? In what way?
Take some time now to pray and thank the Lord for all he has done for you through his passion, death, and resurrection. Use the prayer below from the end of the meditation as the starting point.
“Jesus, I am astounded at your love and generosity—toward me!”