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Contents: Volume 2

3rd SUNDAY of EASTER B

04/14/2024


 
3rd
Sunday

of

EASTER

2024

 

1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP
2. -- Dennis Keller
3. -- John Boll OP
4. --
5. --(Your reflection can be here!)

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1.
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3rd Sunday of Easter 2024

The selection for this Sunday's Gospel according to Luke does not identify "the two disciples" at the beginning of the passage. Going back to the beginning of the chapter, however, we find that these were the two who encountered the Risen Jesus on the way to Emmaus. After that encounter, they headed back to Jerusalem, exactly where we find them in today's reading.

When they were recounting their story to the other disciples, Jesus came and stood in their midst once again. "They were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost." Jesus's calmness and his eating a piece of baked fish in front of them turned their unbelief into incredulous joy and amazement. Jesus opened their minds and again explained the Scriptures to them. They became Jesus's witnesses, witnessing to us to this day. through the Scriptures.

I found it unusual that all the disciples were still so startled. I guess now living in the 2024 world of "right now", this story just seemed much like a repeat of the stories that those who had seen Jesus were retelling. Why didn't they all just believe each other?

Well, why don't we believe sometimes either after hearing something or seeing it more than once?

The human mind is interesting and complicated. Each person's mind is incredibly unique as well. Combine these two "non-standard" components across multiple people and there is the answer!

Humans like conformity and ease, but also creativity and a challenge, depending on the situation. The truth is that each person is unique and, somehow, God touches each of us to become witnesses to the Risen Lord in the best way for each of us. It really does seem that each of us must see for our own self or be brought to believe by God's unique plan in order to become a true witness.

What is familiar to us, however, we seem to extrapolate as being familiar to others. For me, that is the challenge of a lifetime... to see that my story may not be like the story of someone else and vice versa. Over and over again, it becomes abundantly clear that each of us must learn to listen not only to the voice within us, but also to just listen to what others say... no judgment, no comment, no question, just listen.

After hearing another's story comes understanding it by reflective listening and yes, some questioning. Friendships are formed that way and so the kingdom is built here on earth. Let us pray that we may tell the story of Jesus in our lives and willingly listen to the version Jesus has written or is writing in someone else's life as well.

Blessings,
Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP
Southern Dominican Laity
lanie@leblanc.one

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2.
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Third Sunday of Easter April 14, 2024

Acts 3:13-15 & 17-19; Responsorial Psalm 4;
1st John 2:1-5; Gospel Acclamation Luke 24:32;
Luke 24:35-48

The unbelievable events we remember in celebration of Holy Week and Easter are shared in this Sunday’s liturgy of the Word. In the first reading we see Peter preaching to a crowd gathered. What happened to Peter? Remember we heard his bluster and self-assurance before Gethsemane, “I will never deny you even if it means my death.” How quickly he folded and denied knowing Jesus. Yet to his credit, he did not go into hiding, but followed along as Jesus was taken from place to place. His words came back to him as he denied for the third time. He realized his frailty and did not shy away from it. Peter, even after three years following the Son of God, Son of Mary, still had room to grow in Faith. His example is an encouragement for us. We too have frailties that humble us and cause us to seek again the Messiah of healing and encouragement.

Peter says ignorance is the excuse for the murderous behavior of the people. This ignorance is failure to understand the teaching of the prophets. If the passion, crucifixion, and death were the end of Jesus, there will be no hope for a healing of our brokenness, our frailty. The resurrection of the Messiah is a necessary Act of God to mend the brokenness in the hearts and the psyches of humankind. The assignment of the Messiah is to teach and model the Will of God for us. The prophets focused on the work of the Messiah. He showed the way. He did not relieve us or responsibility. The messiah in the minds of the Chosen People created a political, militaristic leader who would be another Moses freeing the enslaved. Before we look down our noses on these religious ancestors, we should realize that each of us is enslaved as well. How free are we really? Are we not children of the world held captive by the clutter, the violence, the rapaciousness, the greed, the incessant pursuit of power and status of how the world works?

The way of the world leads to death. The energy and time we spent accumulating, achieving status, becoming powerful add nothing to the death bed. It’s having our hands held in our last moments, being loved by family and friends that is most needed in at death’s portal. What has been accumulated is left behind to be fought over by heirs. The power gained before death is fought over and divides. Bitter words wound and kill friendships and there often murderous violence. Status is reduced to a marker in a cemetery and a media obituary. Soon even memories of this person wane. What has been strenuously achieved falls into dust and is forgotten. This is evident, yet the endeavors and goals, the measures of success of the world only serve the man made gods of power, wealth, and reputation.

Thinking again about the passion, death, and burial of Jesus: our quick and common response to that horror is that “he died for our sins.” Many find it hard to connect personal sinning with a torturous death nearly two thousand years ago. What did we do that was so terrible as to put a crown of thorns on his head, scrouging on his back, nails in his hands, and lance in his side? And then a hasty burial in someone else’s tomb? We can be appalled by that violence due to a person whose entire public life was without violence. His ministry and death were examples to Ghandi and Martin Luther King of non-violence. He had the power to strike back – but did not. Why did he die? The powers that put him to death were religious, political, and military. Violence was laid on him because those powers feared him: that his teaching, healing, and kindness to poor and disenfranchised people would cause a revolution. Their power, their wealth, their prestige would be threatened if his message took hold. So, kill him, remove his influence. If we look at this narrative from the perspective of those who needed him gone, the death of Jesus is about more than just my sins. My sins are truly in support of the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Scribes, and the Chief Priests. Those sins of that religious leadership worked hand in glove with the hated occupiers, the Romans. The Roman occupation was sheer violence. In the time of Jesus, outside the little town of Nazareth, the Romans crucified a thousand rebels. Violence. My sins are in support of those evils and evil doers. So, yes, Jesus died for my sins as well – when my gods are wealth, power, status, and violence.

The claim of Christianity is that by his terrible death, Jesus broke the back of evil. Seems a contradiction, that by dying Jesus won an overwhelming victory over evil. If we stop at the dying, then where’s the victory?. But in three days, the tomb was empty. Even more significantly, Jesus appeared to the two on the way to Emmaus – they were amazed at his explanations of the prophets and the history of the Hebrews as they were led to freedom – even though they messed up regularly – like us. They rushed back to Jerusalem to the upper room. There they heard the stories of Jesus being among them – breathing on them, extending to them the power to overcome evil through the forgiveness of sins.

But what I find amazing is that Jesus retained his wounds. Nail wounds and the wound of the lance in his side that certified his death. The wounds were/are visible on this risen body as proof this is Jesus, the one who took on the evil of the world and defeated its death dealing efforts. Here Jesus stands – victorious over death itself.

Is there an application to each of us? If we are followers of the way of Jesus, then when the ways of the world seduce us, we expand the power of evil. But isn’t it a necessity that we work to accumulate funds so we can have a home? Don’t we need a car in our culture to travel and go to our workplace? Don’t we need to set aside funds for when work becomes impossible for us? All these are necessary. What is different is that we not become worshippers of the gods of wealth, of work, of power, of influence, of amassing things. The reason Jesus took on evil and beat it was that the Father loves us, calls us His children. If we love those man-made gods, we’re on the wrong track. Those gods disappear when we come to death’s portal. If we instead love the persons of our family, of our community, of our nation, of our world – that love has staying power. That love is how we overcome the evil that abounds in the world. It’s not easy to love those who hate us. But that is what Jesus modeled for us. Without love we are dead, pursuing what fails to sustain our spirits. We live in the world but not in its goals. Our lives are seasons of suffering which bring healing by the resurrections that lead us to greater understanding and love. Ultimately a final resurrections is in the order of the risen Jesus. Our wounds are visible but then proofs of our victories. Lord, teach us how to love!

Dennis Keller Dennis@PreacherExchange.com

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3.
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2024-04-14 Homily, Third Sunday of Easter -Year B
by John Boll OP

Based on the readings for today
. . . I think this might make a better Divine Mercy Sunday,...

We have heard from John in the past two weeks
and now Luke tells us his take on Jesus’
first appearance to the disciples after the resurrection.

And again Jesus’ greeting is “Peace be with you.”

Some years ago, A close friend and I parted ways,
It was not about something
we could not have worked through,
but I had just moved to a new assignment.
With the distance, and in my inner introversion,
I did not know how to reconnect.
As time went along I developed a fear
that it would not go well.
So I never did.

Years later, not too long ago,
I received a great gift!
I was once again living near where they live.
My friends came to Mass one Sunday,
I was glad to see them.
I do not remember how it was said,
but she broke through the barrier and invited me to be reconciled. In effect she said “Peace be with You.”
She dispelled my fear,
We both said we were sorry.
Now there is a door open and we have opportunity to reconnect and maybe, in time, build a renewed friendship.

But it was her gift of peace that made it possible.

The disciples seem to
have experienced something like this in Jesus’ appearance.

There was some effort in convincing them this was real,
(Jesus had to eat some fish and invite them to touch him.)

But with Peter’s later reaching out in ACTS to his fellow Jews
not only with truth, but with a tone of understanding,
acknowledging that they had acted out of ignorance,
he shows that he had learned the lesson.

John too, in his letter,
encourages us by telling us that Jesus is there for us:
“My children, I am writing this to you
so that you may not commit sin.
But if anyone does sin,
we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ... .”

In the Gospel Jesus reconnects with the disciples
who had fled in fear, betrayed and denied him.

We all hear his first words to them, “Peace be with you.”
By this, Jesus not only enters our locked hearts,
but breaks through our fear
and opens the way to a deeper connection
with God and one another.

This is a great gift given to us.

Jesus knows that it will take time
to build our relationship with the Him and with one another,

And so he has left us other gifts to help us along:

The sacrament of Reconciliation is his “Peace be with you,”

And the Celebration of the Eucharist,
by which His peace is established,
is his “lets stay connected.”

Now that’s Divine Mercy!

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4.
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5.
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Volume 2 is for you. Your thoughts, reflections, and insights on the next Sundays readings can influence the preaching you hear. Send them to preacherexchange@att.net.  Deadline is Wednesday Noon. Include your Name, and Email Address.


-- Fr. John Boll, OP



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