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EASTER

SUNDAY

III

(A)

“FIRST IMPRESSIONS”

THIRD SUNDAY OF EASER (B)
APRIL 14, 2024

Acts 3: 13-15, 17-19; Psalm 4;
I John 2: 1-5a; Luke 24: 35-48

By Jude Siciliano, OP

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Dear Preachers:

The gospel opens with the two disciples, who met the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus, recounting their experience: how they recognized Jesus when he broke the bread. Today’s scene takes place in Jerusalem. For Luke the gospel began when the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah in the Jerusalem Temple. Now Luke’s gospel is ending with Jesus’ appearance to the disciples in Jerusalem and later their blessing God in the temple (24: 52-23).

For Luke the resurrection fulfills the Scriptures. He stresses that the reality of the risen Jesus was not an illusion, or just a spirit. In the gospel the disciples are trying to make sense of what happened. Jesus’ death was a big letdown for those who had hoped he would set Israel free. But then, like the two disciples in the opening verses of today’s gospel, his followers began to spread the news that he was alive.

While the two disciples were speaking, Jesus appeared in their midst. He invited them to touch and see that it was truly him. Even more, he ate with them. Pure spirits, or phantoms, cannot be touched, nor do they eat. Luke is emphasizing that Jesus rose in his body. To help their understanding Jesus invites the disciples to recall the Scriptures (e.g. Psalm 22; Isaiah 53, etc.) and the words he previously spoke to them and to see that he had fulfilled their promise.

There is the lead in for us: the Scriptures can help us come to the meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus opens the Scriptures to us too: when we turn to them with grateful hearts and prayers of thanks; when we are startled and afraid; when we come up against roadblocks life puts in front of us; when we have met a dead end and stumble in our faith; when we need our minds open to God and God’s ways; when we need our faith bolstered to believe Jesus is risen; when we need to witness to others by our words and the way we live. Christ is risen from the dead and is with us now. For this and more, Jesus opens the Scriptures to us.

Here is something to ponder: what if we didn’t have Easter? What if we didn’t believe in the resurrection? We would not be Christian. If we were, it would be more like belonging to a social club with like-minded folks. There would be no saints present, or past, to imitate, admire and pray to. Death would be the end, a tragic conclusion to our lives. Whatever good we did would mostly dissolve when we died. Without the resurrection what kind of moral system would we have? What about our principles concerning the dignity of each person and our responsibility to care for the least and voiceless in our society?

But Christ did rise from the dead and all things are not as they first appear, because God is at work in our world, even if we do not always understand how and where. Believing in the resurrection sustains our faith and increases our love of God. Our hope for what we do not yet see sustains our patience and empowers the particular works we do for the reign of God. The violence and darkness in our world seems to contradict our faith. But we have Easter and we believe God has overcome sin and death and Christ is alive working in powerful, if sometimes unrecognizable ways. Our hope yields to patience in the ways of our loving God.

We try to be optimistic in the face of suffering and loss. People attempt to comfort us saying, “Don’t worry things will get better.” Or, as the poet Shelley said, “If winter comes can spring be far behind?” (“Ode to the West Wind”). But it is not a matter of optimism, or trying harder. Resurrection is unnatural, it is sheer grace as was the way God created out of nothing.

Resurrection calls us to believe in a God who makes possible what is impossible; not for the sake of show or spectacle, but to save us. We have done nothing, nor can we do anything, to save ourselves. Eternal life is sheer gift.

Saint Luke didn’t write this story for those first disciples. The “word of God in the flesh” was right there in front of them: visible, explaining, giving courage, guiding and comforting, asking, “Why are you troubled?” This is the closing scene in Luke’s gospel. he was writing for his community of believers in the year 80 or 90; years after this event and Jesus’ departure.

Like us, Luke’s community had not seen the risen Christ in the flesh, neither had Luke. Like us, they need reassurance that Christ had truly risen from the dead and was among them. Like us, life sometimes overwhelmed them, leaving them with questions, confusion and doubts. Luke needed to show his contemporaries how their faith could be strengthened; how Jesus wasn’t a past tense phenomenon, merely a great historical figure, now long gone.

There in the Scriptures, guided by the Spirit, we discover our Easter God, who transforms frightened disciples into bold witnesses, willing to die for their Lord. just as he instructed those first disciples. Through the Scriptures the Spirit, who raised Jesus to new life and instructed the first disciples, beckons us to leave the safety of the tried and true and trust in Christ’s invitation to proclaim repentance and the forgiveness of sins to all the nations.

Have we considered turning to the Scriptures during this Easter season to deepen our faith in the resurrected Christ? No historical “proof” is going to convince us that through Jesus’ death and resurrection God has fulfilled God’s promises. Luke tells us that Jesus “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” We pray for his Spirit to do the same for us so that we, like the first disciples, can become “witnesses of these things.”

Click here for a link to this Sunday’s readings:
https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/041424.cfm

QUOTABLE

“Spring Song”

 

The green of Jesus
is breaking ground
and the sweet
smell of delicious Jesus
is opening the house and
the dance of Jesus music
has hold of the air and
the world is turning
in the body of Jesus and
the future is possible
.


-- Lucille Clifton

JUSTICE BULLETIN BOARD

"The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way."
Luke 24: 35

Ever notice how there always are at least two disciples journeying together? Our journey with the Lord is never meant to be a solitary one and how much more fun it is to share one’s life and spiritual experiences with another. Furthermore, it takes our two feet to get us from Point A to Point B. And, finally, it takes our two hands to help lift others up and help them on their way. Lots of twos.

In this glorious fifty days of the Easter season, let us re-examine how we, as Jesus’ followers, can enrich our own journey by journeying with others to build a better world that is our mission as the laity. The USCCB names this way, the “Two Feet of Social Justice: Charity and Justice.” The difference can be found in the proverbial feeding a person a fish vs. teaching them how to fish; both actions are needed.

Here at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, to join in the mission of charity, please journey with the following parishioners in their ministries:

  • -Catholic Parish Outreach Food Pantry—Susan Borghoff
  • -Door Ministry—Barbara Quinby
  • -Farm Workers Ministry—Olga Salas
  • -Helen Wright Women’s Shelter Meals Ministry—Ann Petro, Amy Klabon
  • -Oak City Cares Center Meals Ministry—Kathleen Privette, Ed Pollard, Elizabeth White, Stella & Tom Walton -Women’s Center Lunch Ministry—Leni Crook -Refugee Resettlement—Kimberly Stanko
  • -CPO Baby Necessities Annual Drive—Christine Dennis
  • -Crafters for Christ—Cathy Spargo Frieda
  • -Note in the Pocket Clothing Ministry for impoverished children—Demi Marshall
  • -Angel Share Tree Christmas—Katia Roebuck
  • To join in the mission of justice, please journey with the following parishioners:
  • -Care for our Common Home: Laudato Si Circle—Monica Kleimeyer; NCCCCH—Barbara Quinby
  • -Crop Hunger Walk—Mary Catherine Hinds
  • -Habitat for Humanity—Walt Milowic
  • -Justice for Immigrants—Luisa Martin-Price
  • -Prison Ministry—Sandy Peace
  • -Share the Blessings—Kevin Green
  • -Support Circles—Christopher Gorski
  • -Walking with Moms in Need—Christine Dennis
  • -The Reflecting Pool for Racial Justice—Lauren Green

If not now, when? Start your journey to build a better world today!
CONTACT: socialconcern@hnojnc.org

Live Lightly Upon the Land

 

Barbara Molinari Quinby, MPS, Director
Office of Human Life, Dignity, and Justice Ministries
Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, Raleigh, NC

 

FAITH BOOK


Mini-reflections on the Sunday scripture readings designed for persons on the run. “Faith Book” is also brief enough to be posted in the Sunday parish bulletins people take home.


 

A reading taken from the Acts of the Apostles:


Peter said to the people....
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead;
of this we are witnesses.

 

Reflection:


After curing a crippled beggar, Peter announces what the first generation of Christians and we believe: Christ is raised from the dead and a new age has dawned. The old order of death is passing away. Jesus is alive and his followers are showing in their words and actions bold signs of his healing presence working with them.

 

So, we ask ourselves:

  • Can I name some ways I witness to my faith in the risen Christ?

  • How am I a sign to others of Jesus’ healing presence in the world?

POSTCARDS TO DEATH ROW INMATES
 

"The death penalty is one of the great moral issues facing our country, yet most people rarely think about it and very few of us take the time to delve deeply enough into this issue to be able to make an informed decision about it."
– Sister Helen Prejean
 



Inmates on death row are the most forgotten people in the prison system. Each week I am posting in this space several inmates’ names and locations. I invite you to write a postcard to one or more of them to let them know that: we have not forgotten them; are praying for them and their families; or, whatever personal encouragement you might like to give them. If the inmate responds, you might consider becoming pen pals.


Please write to:

  • William Robinson #0694689 (On death row since 12/9/2011)

  • White Randy W. #0012311 (12/8/1993)

  • George Wilkerson #0900281 (12/20/2006)

----Central Prison, P.O. 247 Phoenix, MD 21131


Please note: Central Prison is in Raleigh, NC., but for security purposes, mail to inmates is processed through a clearing house at the above address in Maryland.


For more information on the Catholic position on the death penalty go to the Catholic Mobilizing Network: http://catholicsmobilizing.org/resources/cacp/


On this page you can sign “The National Catholic Pledge to End the Death Penalty.” Also, check the interfaith page for People of Faith Against the Death Penalty: http://www.pfadp.org/

 

DONATIONS

 

“First Impressions” is a service to preachers and those wishing to prepare for Sunday worship. It is sponsored by the Dominican Friars. If you would like “First Impressions” sent weekly to a friend, send a note to Fr. John Boll, OP at jboll@opsouth.org.


If you would like to support this ministry, please send tax deductible contributions to Fr. Jude Siciliano, O.P.:


St. Albert Priory
3150 Vince Hagan Drive
Irving, Texas 75062-4736


Make checks payable to: Dominican Friars.

 

Or, go to our webpage to make an online donation: http://www.PreacherExchanhe.com/donations.htm

 

RESOURCES

 

ORDERING OUR CDs:

 

We have compiled Four CDs for sale:

Individual CDs for each Liturgical Year, A, B or C.

One combined CD for “Liturgical Years A, B and C.

 

If you are a preacher, lead a Lectionary-based scripture group, or are a member of a liturgical team, these CDs will be helpful in your preparation process. Individual worshipers report they also use these reflections as they prepare for Sunday liturgy.


You can order the CDs by going to our webpage: https://www.PreacherExchange.com and clicking on the “First Impressions” CD link on the left.

OTHER PUBLICATIONS BY EMAIL:


1. "HOMILÍAS DOMINICALES" ---These Spanish reflections on the Sunday and daily scriptures are written by Dominican sisters and friars. If you or a friend would like to receive these reflections drop a note to "Fr. John J. Boll, O.P." <preacherexchange@att.net>


2. "VOLUME 2" is an opportunity for you to hear from the readers of First Impressions. To subscribe or Send your own reflections: Send them to "Fr. John J. Boll, O.P." <preacherexchange@att.net > Your contributions to Volume 2 are welcome.

 

OUR WEBSITE:

https://www.preacherexchange.com where you will find Preachers Exchange, which includes "First Impressions," "Homilías Dominicales," and "Volume 2" as well as articles, book reviews, daily homilies and other material pertinent to preaching and Scripture reflection.

 

FOR EMAIL HELP OR TO UNSUBSCRIBE, SUBSCRIBE, OR CHANGE:

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