From the Pastor's Desk
The common theme of today’s readings is the challenge to adjust our lives in the living presence of the risen Lord, well aware of his presence, within us and all around us as his Holy Spirit. This awareness should strengthen our hope in his promises, bring us to the true repentance for our sins and the renewal of our lives, and lead us to bear witness to Christ by our works of charity. The readings also remind us that the purpose of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus was to save us from sins.
The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles describes Peter’s second sermon addressing the Jewish assembly at the Portico of Solomon in Jerusalem. Peter forcefully declares how the messianic prophecies have been fulfilled in the crucified and risen Jesus and challenges the Jews to turn toward God so that their sins may be wiped away. Answering doubts raised by the early heretics of his time.
John in the second reading asserts the fundamental Christian doctrine that Jesus’ death was a sacrifice offered for the expiation for our sins.
Today’s gospel describes Jesus’ appearance to his apostles in their hiding place in the Upper Room of the Cenacle. It tells us how Jesus removed the doubts of his apostles about his resurrection by inviting them to touch him and by eating a piece of cooked fish. Jesus explained to them how the prophecies had been fulfilled in him. Then he commissioned them to bear witness to him and preach "repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name after receiving the Holy Spirit."
- Share the apostles’ "Upper Room Experience" in the Holy Mass: The same Jesus who, in the upper room of the Cenacle, prepared his disciples for their preaching and witnessing mission, is present with us in the Eucharistic celebration. In the "Liturgy of the Word of God," Jesus speaks to us. In the "Liturgy of Bread and Wine," Jesus becomes our spiritual food and drink. Thus, today’s gospel scene is repeated every Sunday on our parish altars. Like the early disciples, we come together to repent of our sins, express our gratitude for the blessings received, listen to God’s words and offer our lives to God along with our petitions and His gifts of bread and wine. We also share in the spiritual food Jesus supplies, thus gaining the strength necessary for sharing his message with the entire world mainly by living transparent Christian lives.
- Jesus needs us as witnesses to continue his mission. Jesus needs Spirit-filled followers to be his eyes, ears and hands and to bear witness to his love, mercy and forgiveness.
- Let our daily lives be the means of experiencing and sharing the risen Lord with others. Just as the disciples experienced their risen Lord in their community, let us learn to feel the presence of Jesus in our own homes, social service centers, nursing facilities, hospitals and schools. Jesus wants us to be a community which shares and cares, a community which knows how to recognize Jesus in the poor, in the marginalized, in the sick.