Pastoral Sharings: "Third Sunday of Easter"

WeeklyMessage Father Michael Phillippino
May 4, 2014
Third Sunday of Easter

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

In today’s reading the two disciples are on the way to 
Emmaus encounter Christ on the first day of the week. 
They recognize him in the “breaking of the bread” which 
was the early Christian term for the celebration of the Mass. This happened on the first day of the week, which was the Lord’s Day.
The Lord’s Day or Sunday is God’s gift to us and is a day of special grace. It is a day which God has given us to rest from profane activities and contemplate with and in God the work he has done for us. Our Lord exhorts us to keep holy the Sabbath and in the New Testament Christ commands us, “Do this in memory of me.”
Sunday is our first and most fundamental feast day, which celebrates the core mystery of our faith, the resurrection of our Lord. We celebrate it not just at Easter but every Sunday. It is difficult in our day and age to protect this day. I see many people who are trying to pack so much into their day and are working seven days a week to make ends meet. They do not realize that they are robbing themselves of the very things they are pursuing by not keeping holy the Lord’s Day. If only they could believe that it would be far more profitable for them if they truly revered the Lord’s Day. “Time given to Christ is never time lost, but rather time gained, so that our relationships and indeed our whole life may become more profoundly human” (Pope John Paul II, On Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy, Daughters of St. Paul, 1998, N.7).
This requires faith of course, and it seems that faith and the understanding of how important the Mass is in maintaining our relationship with Christ is dwarfed by the demands we place upon ourselves in today’s society. St. John Paul II, lamenting this fact, wrote: “In the minds of many of the faithful not only the sense of the centrality of the Eucharist but even the sense of the duty to give thanks to the Lord and to pray to him with others in the community of the Church seems to be diminishing” (Ibid, 5).
Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is recognition that we cannot save ourselves, that it is a work of God. It is trusting in his provision for our lives so that we do not have to destroy ourselves by working ourselves to death. We are not slaves, we have been freed by Christ, but so many behave as if they were still slaves. As the author of Hebrews warns us so strongly:
Take care, brothers, that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God. Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today” so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin. We have become partners of Christ if only we hold our first confidence firm until the end, for it is said: “Oh, that today you would hear his voice: ‘Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion’.” Who were those who rebelled when they heard? Was it not all those who came out of Egypt under Moses? With whom was he “provoked for forty years”? Was it not those who had sinned, whose corpses fell in the desert? And to whom did he “swear that they should not enter into his rest,” if not to those who were disobedient? And we see that they could not enter for lack of faith” (Hebrews 3:7-19).

Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
May 4, 2014

Third Sunday of Easter
Luke 24: 13-35

The disciples walking on the way to Emmaus in the late afternoon of Easter Sunday did not realize that they were speaking in person with Jesus. The fact that his appearance was different to them is clear; after all, they would hardly fail to recognize such a personal friend and guide, yet their delayed recognition goes beyond visual images and embraces a broader human tendency to fail to see the things that ought to be the clearest to us. They finally recognize him when he takes bread and breaks it to share with them, representing the Eucharist which he had previously shared with his apostles on the evening of Holy Thursday, immediately preceding his passion and death.

Third Sunday of Easter: Apostolic Witnesses
Last weekend was amazing. The world’s attention was focused on the canonizations of Pope St. John XXIII and Pope St. John Paul II. Hundreds of thousands attended the celebration.  Millions more watched it on television.  Its true significance was not the canonizations themselves.  Its significance is that they pointed to the central event in the history of mankind.  They pointed to the Christ event, the coming of the Eternal Word of God as one of us, as man; His proclamation of the new spiritual Kingdom of God; His destruction of evil and death through the  sacrificial love of the cross; His giving His Life to us at the Resurrection and at our personal acceptance of this Life, our Baptism; and the continuation of His power and presence through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. 

Third Sunday of Easter, Year A—May 4, 2014
Gospel (Read Lk 24:13-35)

Isn’t it interesting that when Jesus appeared to two “downcast” (Lk 24:17) disciples on Resurrection Day, He didn’t do the very thing that would have broken into their despair—identify Himself? Why were these men traveling away from Jerusalem? Surely it was because Jesus’ death there had deeply disappointed them. They had been “hoping that He would be the one to redeem Israel” (Lk 24:21), and that had fallen to dust and defeat. What was the point of staying in Jerusalem any longer?

Reflections for Sunday, May 4, 2014
Were not our hearts burning? (Luke 24:32)
Great writers have a knack for conveying deep, lasting truths in just a few words. This is the kind of artistry that we find in today’s Gospel. In telling the story of two people who meet the Lord on the road to Emmaus, St. Luke also tells us about the transforming power of the Mass.

Pope Francis Canonizes St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII
VATICAN CITY — Rain was threatening to spoil today’s historic canonization of two popes in St. Peter’s Square, but at the very moment that Pope Francis proclaimed Popes John XXIII and John Paul II saints at the Vatican, the sky began to brighten.

Speaking in Latin at the canonization Mass in St. Peter’s Square for the two popes, Francis confirmed they were in heaven with the words: “We declare and define Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II to be saints, and we enroll them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole Church.”

Holy Spirit’s Gift of Understanding Helps Us View Things With Mind of God
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis explained that the Holy Spirit’s gift of understanding allows Christians to obtain “intimacy with God” and helps them understand things “as God understands them.”

“When the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts and enlightens our minds, he makes us grow day by day in the understanding of what the Lord has said and accomplished,” the Pope said at his Wednesday audience on April 30.

The Difference Easter Made
One of the striking things about the Easter and post-Easter narratives in the New Testament is that they are largely about incomprehension: which is to say that, in the canonical Gospels, the early Church admitted that it took some time for the first Christian believers to understand what had happened in the Resurrection, and how what had happened changed everything. In Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches (Basic Books), I draw on insights from Anglican biblical scholar N.T. Wright and Pope Benedict XVI to explore the first Christians’ unfolding comprehension of Easter and how it exploded their ideas of history and their place in history.

So, what changed after Easter?

Our Lady, our guide Through her many apparitions over the centuries, Mary leads us more closely to her Son
Nearly 2,000 years ago, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews wrote that “In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he spoke to us through a son” (Heb 1:1-2). God did not abandon the world after creating it; instead, he revealed himself to our first parents, made a covenant with Noah, chose Abraham to be the father of a multitude of nations and formed his people of Israel.

We Are Not Going Anywhere
I’m a Catholic, and I am not going anywhere.

With some of my friends, family, and fellow travellers I have been discussing how a Catholic should respond and behave in these times.

Rejoice in the Lord At All Times
Saint Paul exhorts us with these uplifting words: “Rejoice in the Lord; I say it again: rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil. 4:4).

St. Ignatius of Loyola in the Spiritual Exercises in the fourth week, the week in which we contemplate the Risen Lord Jesus, insists that in contemplating the Risen Lord Jesus who came to console that we beg for joy, but not a partial or mediocre joy but to beg for “most intense joy.”

Christ’s discourse with Nicodemus
Nicodemus was afraid, or ashamed to be seen with Christ, therefore came in the night. When religion is out of fashion, there are many Nicodemites. But though he came by night, Jesus bid him welcome, and hereby taught us to encourage good beginnings, although weak. And though now he came by night, yet afterward he owned Christ publicly. He did not talk with Christ about state affairs, though he was a ruler, but about the concerns of his own soul and its salvation, and went at once to them. Our Saviour spoke of the necessity and nature of regeneration or the new birth, and at once directed Nicodemus to the source of holiness of the heart.

Spiritual Weapons: Fasting
Fasting gives birth to prophets and strengthens the powerful; fasting makes lawgivers wise. Fasting is a good safeguard for the soul, a steadfast companion for the body, a weapon for the valiant, and a gymnasium for athletes. Fasting repels temptations, anoints unto piety; it is the comrade of watchfulness and the artificer of chastity. In war it fights bravely, in peace it teaches stillness.                       – St. Basil the Great

Are you struggling with a sin? I mean a sin that you just can’t seem to get rid of; a sin that is keeps you in a constant state of guilt and despair. You’ve prayed, you’ve frequented the sacraments, but you just can’t seem to break its hold.

My Message from Heaven to Stay Awake and Pray the Rosary
I learned to pray the rosary in 1989 while in my early thirties. I vowed to say it daily. But a few weeks after the birth of a new baby, I decided to skip it in favor of getting to sleep. That’s when a Divine message let me know, it’s worth staying awake to pray the rosary.

When I was around ten years old, my parents decided to pray a family rosary one evening. It was the first time ever.

On “Knowing” and “Making” the Truth
Often I asked students: “What is the first thing required for making a chair?” The answer is not wood or a saw. The first thing is to “know” what a chair is. Our knowledge of a chair remains valid whether we make one or not. But if we have all the material and tools needed to make a chair, no chair will result unless we first know what a chair is. In addition, we must decide actually to make one. Every “made” chair is particular: a this chair, not that chair.

You Live in an Age of Miracles
The Gospel for this past Sunday began, “Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book.” Miracles and signs have not ceased since the time of Christ, in fact, on April 27 the Church celebrated the canonization of Saints John XXIII and John Paul II – two men who have profoundly changed the lives of many and changed the course of history.

Praying With Children
It’s a troubling fact today that many Catholic children don’t know the basics of the faith. Many come to religious instruction in parishes without knowing how to make the Sign of the Cross or recite the Our Father or Hail Mary. Teaching children growing up in a secularized world, catechists and teachers can’t assume that their pupils know how to pray.

The Papyrus that “Proved” Jesus Had a Wife? Yeah, That’s a Fake
An announcement that’s sure to bum out progressives everywhere is that the much ballyhooed ancient papyrus which PROOOOOOOOOOVED that Jesus had a wife isn’t actually…uhm…real.

You might recall that two years ago, Harvard professor Karen King announced that an ancient papyrus mentioned that Jesus referred to a wife. Hey, it was written in some old type language on a piece of dirty cloth and it said something that many people wanted to believe so therefore it had to be true.

Truth Defeats Our Lies
We believe so many lies about ourselves.  We believe we’re hopeless, that we can never change, that things will never change, that nothing we do matters, that we don’t deserve love or goodness or justice or dignity or a million other things.  We are trapped by the lies we tell ourselves and the lies that others tell us.

Pope: If you have peace, there’s no room for gossip, envy or defamation
In his daily morning Mass, the Pope talked about early Christians and the inner peace they received from the Holy Spirit. He said, measuring the life of a Christian community, is based on its harmony, witness, poverty be it spiritual or material, and its care for the poor.

“Because the only one who can do this is the Holy Spirit. This is the work of the Spirit. The Church is built up by the Spirit. The Spirit creates unity. The Spirit leads us to witness. The Spirit makes us poor, because He is our wealth and leads us to care for the poor.”

Without gloss: Francis of Assisi and Western Catholicism
By Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

I want to start with a simple statement of fact.  All Christian life is a paradox.  What I mean is this.

In Isaiah 55, God says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts [higher] than your thoughts” (8-9).  Then in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples, “You therefore must be perfect, [even] as your heavenly Father is perfect” (5:48). 

The Blessings of Religious Burnout
I will never forget the half-joking remark conveyed to me by a friend, made to him by a priest, about zealous Catholic converts having a “five-year shelf life.” After that point, presumably, one’s faith must mature – beyond that initial, largely natural zeal, toward a supernatural wisdom and charity – or perish.

The remark was all the more memorable because at the time I had only recently passed that five-year mark, and felt myself at a turning point. My friend, a fellow convert, had run into frustration and disillusionment after a half-decade or so; and my own experience was beginning to look similar.

Why Our Unique Solar System Points to God
In an earlier post on this site titled “How Contemporary Physics Points to God”, Fr. Robert Spitzer addresses the Big Bang and the five anthropic conditions that exist in of our universe. These anthropic conditions lead to intelligent life on our planet. Concerning the anthropic conditions Fr. Spitzer writes: “The odds against all five of the anthropic coincidences happening randomly is exceedingly and almost unimaginably improbable. Most reasonable and responsible individuals would not attribute this to random occurrence (because the odds are so overwhelmingly against it), and so, they look for another explanation which is more reasonable and responsible.”

The 11 Best Educational Websites for Kids
Even pediatricians agree that a little bit of screen time each day is okay for kids.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children over 2 should be limited to 2 hours of “recreational screen time” per day. 
In our house, we try to limit recreational screen time to one hour per day, but because we homeschool our kids do a lot of educational work online.  And they love it!  Our kids race through their work so they can get to their computers.

Here are my picks for the best 10 educational web sites for kids:

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