Reflections

EASTER THURSDAY, APRIL 8, 2021

PEACE BE WITH YOU!
Introduction
We gather for our Eucharist because we firmly believe that Christ died for us and he is risen from the dead. We gather around the risen Lord to open our hearts and minds to his word and to let him fill us with his living presence. He tells us, as he told his apostles: “Look, it is really I; listen to me; touch me in the food and drink of the Eucharist.” Thus, in our assemblies, we proclaim the risen Christ and bear witness to him. But this faith must find expression in our everyday Christian living: since Christ is risen, he must rise in us; we must become a new people in whom Christ is alive. We must bear witness to him with the whole of our lives. Peace be with you!
 
Opening Prayer
Almighty God and Father,
Jesus died for us on the cross
and you raised him from the dead.
We have not seen the marks of the nails in his hands
nor touched the wound in his side,
but we believe that he is alive
and present here among us.
Open our hearts to his Word
and let us touch him in the bread of the Eucharist,
that he may raise us up above our sins
and change us into new people.
May we thus, bear witness to your risen Son,
Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!
 
1 Reading: ACTS 3:11-26
As the crippled man who had been cured clung to Peter and John, all the people hurried in amazement toward them in the portico called “Solomon’s Portico.” When Peter saw this, he addressed the people, “You children of Israel, why are you amazed at this, and why do you look so intently at us as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence, when he had decided to release him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses. And by faith in his name, this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong, and the faith that comes through it has given him this perfect health, in the presence of all of you. Now I know, brothers and sisters, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did; but God has thus brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer. Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment and send you the Christ already appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old. For Moses said: A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kin; to him you shall listen in all that he may say to you. Everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be cut off from the people. “Moreover, all the prophets who spoke, from Samuel and those afterwards, also announced these days. You are the children of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors when he said to Abraham, In your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed. For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways.”
 
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 8:2AB AND 5, 6-7, 8-9
R. (2ab) O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth! or: Alleluia.
 
O LORD, our Lord,
how glorious is your name over all the earth!
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him? R.
 
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet. R.
 
All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas. R.
 
Alleluia: Psalm 118:24
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
 
Gospel: Luke 24:35-48
The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way, and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them. He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
 
Commentary
“In their joy they didn’t dare believe and were still astonished.” Is it ever possible that we are so delighted at an event that we can hardly believe it is real? Evidently there is. Such moments happen in very intimate relationships. Think of a family that has lost all traces of one of its members. After years of waiting, everyone is resigned to the possibility that s/he is dead and gone. But then, on a fine morning, the missing person returns. The family members are so filled with joy that they are afraid to believe it is real. What if s/he is not the same person and it all turns out to be yet another heart-break?
The disciples didn’t have to be worried. The resurrection of Jesus is nonreversible. The Resurrection Effect continues to make waves and stun people—as is evident from people’s reaction to Peter’s curing of the crippled man at Solomon’s Porch. Perhaps Tertullian’s famous words are helpful in believing the event and its effect: “It is to be believed because it is absurd.”
 
Intercessions
That in the name of the Risen Lord, the Church may raise up its members and even outsiders to a new and better life, we pray:
That the Risen Lord may give us peace and serenity of heart, that in him, we have someone to live for and to make our lives meaningful, we pray:
That the Risen Lord may give peace to our Christian communities through the certainty, that he stays with us and breaks for us the bread of the Eucharist, we pray:
 
Prayer over the Gifts
Living Father,
with bread and wine, we celebrate
the presence of your Son in our midst
here around this table and in the life of every day.
Let us experience him here as your great gift to us
and let him stay with us
in our never-ending quest
to be your people trying to live the risen life
of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!
 
Prayer after Communion
God of life and saving love,
we have enjoyed the presence of your Son among us
for we have been together in his name,
he has spoken to us his words of life
and we have shared his table.
May he live on in our community
by our attentive presence to one another,
by our common faith expressed in deeds
of love and service, of gratitude and compassion
and by our efforts to create a better world
where there is justice and hope for all.
May we thus, journey together to you
and bear witness that Christ is our Lord,
now and for ever. Amen!
 
Blessing
“Peace be with you,” says Jesus to us. It is really he who lives among us. Let us touch him in our prayers, in our closeness to him, and may Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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