April 30, 2017
This weekend is an especially graced time for our parish. Our second graders and a few older students will come to the Lord's Table for the first time. It is exciting to see that our faith continues to be lived and enriched by the next generation. Please be aware that at most Masses, the entire front section to the Break, on both sides, may be filled with the children and their families. We ask your kindness and hospitality be shown to all of them. Go up and congratulate them--they will love it. As we see the First Communicants in their special Communion finery and see the banners they have made, we share their excitement and prayer. THANK YOU to all the devoted catechists and helpers who have prepared them for this day; THANK YOU to all their caring parents who have accompanied them on the journey; THANK YOU to all the SJA staff who have helped; and THANK YOU to our clergy who have supported them. Congratulations and God bless you as you receive our Lord in the Eucharist.
This week's readings continue the Easter message. Usually our first reading is from the Old Testament, but today it is from the Acts of the Apostles, that book that is volume 2 of Luke's writings. What a powerful feeling it is to stand up before a vast crowd of people and tell them exactly what you believe! That's what we hear Peter do. His voice rings out fearlessly as he insists that the crucified Jesus is the Messiah sent by God. Jesus is the holy one foretold by David. He is the conqueror of death itself. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter stirred up the people with the wonder of God's word.
The second reading, which is usually from St. Paul's letters (epistles), is from St. Peter’s letters. Peter reminds us that we have been redeemed through the blood of Christ. In return, we are to conduct ourselves with reverence on our faith journey. If we have an attitude of reverence, we will not take our faith lightly. We will be sincere in our study of our faith. We will be open to God and his will for us. We will seek to understand and participate in the Mass and the sacraments because there we meet the One who suffered, died, and rose for us. What does reverence mean to you? How do you show your reverence for your faith and for the things of God?
The gospel tells the wonderful story of Emmaus and how the followers of Jesus recognized him in the breaking and blessing of the "bread." As two downhearted disciples journey to Emmaus, a stranger joins them. To him they pour out all their crushed hopes about Jesus who has been crucified and whom they miss so much. After listening carefully to their story, the stranger tells them that they are slow to "believe all that the prophets have announced." He then explains the Scripture to them. The disciples are delighted with the stranger's teaching. But they do not realize that the stranger is Jesus until he takes bread, blesses it, breaks it, and gives it to them.
When we are at Mass, we are a little like these disciples. Just as if we were on the road to Emmaus, the risen Christ comes to meet us along the way. He comes to speak to us as we listen to the Word of God. He is there to share our lives and to nourish us in Holy Communion. Through the Eucharist, we experience union with Jesus and with one another. The Sign of Peace at Mass expresses this union beautifully. Jesus gives us his peace and his love so that we may share them with those around us. The Eucharist strengthens us to return to our homes with hearts burning with love for God and neighbor. Each Mass we see the celebrant break the bread (host) just as Jesus did so that all may share and recognize Jesus present with us. Alleluia.
Our friends can either lead us to walk with Jesus or to walk away from him. How do you support and help your friends in walking with Jesus? How do they support and help you? How do you show that you, too, recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread at the celebration of the Eucharist? Where have you encountered Jesus "on the way"?
Some Eucharist thoughts from well known writers:
"We gather together in worship not to 'refuel' our lives devoid of grace, but because we need to celebrate all the grace-filled moments of our lives, which are so easily overlooked or ignored." (Karl Rahner-theologian)
--For what am I grateful this week? After Eucharist, do I see the world differently?
"If Catholics had a real idea the power they evoke at Mass, they would wear crash helmets and fasten themselves in their pews with seatbelts."
--How do I live out this power during the week? Is anyone less hungry, lonely, sad, in need, etc., because I was at Mass?
--What is the difference between saying "I went to Mass" and "I celebrated the Eucharist today"?
And finally a thought from Richard Gaillardetz (American theologian):
"Perhaps, instead of thinking of the worshiping assembly as 500 private phone lines connected, through the altar, up to God, we should be thinking of our worship as a conference call in which the liturgy is our shared conversation with God."
Have a Blessed week,
Mrs. C the DRE