Sunday Church at Home, 3rd Sunday of Easter, Cycle C

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3rd Sunday of Easter, Cycle C

Sunday Church at Home

during lockdown in the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Word of the Risen Lord 
Guides the Christian Community.  

The lay leader makes the sign of the cross, saying:

Leader:         In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All reply:       Amen

Leader:         Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

All reply:       Blessed be God for ever

Leader:         In this Easter season of great gladness we listen carefully to the stories of our risen Lord. Each one helps us to see how his presence gives us courage and new hope.

LITURGY OF THE WORD

First Reading: Acts 5:27b-32.40b-41

Introduction to the reading: The Acts of the Apostles tell the story of the early Church during the first 30 years after the resurrection of Jesus. It describes God’s Spirit at work, directing, encouraging and supporting the members of the Church.

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles

In those days: 
The high priest questioned the Apostles, saying, 
“We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, 
yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching 
and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 

But Peter and the apostles answered, 
“We must obey God rather than men. 
The God of our fathers raised Jesus 
whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 
God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Saviour, 
to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 
And we are witnesses to these things, 
and so is the Holy Spirit 
whom God has given to those who obey him.” 

And charged the Apostles not to speak in the name of Jesus, 
and let them go. 
Then they left the presence of the council, 
rejoicing that they were counted worthy 
to suffer dishonour for the name.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 30:2 & 4.5-6.11-12 & 13b (R. 2a)

Let us now pray the Responsorial Psalm beginning and ending with the response:

R/. I will extol you, Lord, for you have raised me up.

I will extol you, Lord, for you have raised me up,
and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O Lord, you have lifted up my soul from the grave,
restored me to life from those who sink into the pit.

Sing psalms to the Lord, you faithful ones;
give thanks to his holy name.
His anger lasts a moment; his favour all through life.
At night come tears, but dawn brings joy.

Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me;
be my helper, O Lord.
You have changed my mourning into dancing,
O Lord my God, I will thank you forever.

R/. I will extol you, Lord, for you have raised me up.

Second Reading: Revelation 5:11-14

Introduction to the reading: The book of Revelation was written around 95 A.D. for Christians living in what is today Turkey. The Roman emperor ordered his subjects to worship him as a god. When the Christians resisted, they were persecuted. The book of Revelation was written to encourage them. Today’s passage describes a vision of God’s people enjoying heavenly life and singing God’s praises for their victory.

A reading from the Book of Revelation

I, John, looked, 
and I heard around the throne 
and the living creatures and the elders 
the voice of many angels, 
numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 
saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, 
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might 
and honour and glory and blessing!” 
And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth 
and under the earth and in the sea, 
and all therein, saying, 
“To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb 
be blessing and honour and glory and might forever and ever!” 
And the four living creatures said, 
“Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshipped.

The word of the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia
Christ has risen, who created all things and has mercy on the human race. 

Alleluia.

Gospel: John 21:1-19

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.

At that time: 
Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples 
by the Sea of Tiberias, 
and he revealed himself in this way. 

Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, 
Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, 
and two others of his disciples were together. 
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” 

They said to him, “We will go with you.” 
They went out and got into the boat, 
but that night they caught nothing. 
Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; 
yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any fish?” 

They answered him, “No.” 

He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, 
and you will find some.” 

So they cast it, 
and now they were not able to haul it in, 
for the quantity of fish. 
That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” 
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, 
he put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, 
and sprang into the sea. 
But the other disciples came in the boat, 
dragging the net full of fish, 
for they were not far from the land, 
but about a hundred yards off. 

When they got out on land, 
they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread.
 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, 
full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; 
and although there were so many, the net was not torn. 
Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” 
Now, none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” 
They knew it was the Lord. 
Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, 
and so with the fish. 

This was now the third time 
that Jesus was revealed to the disciples 
after he was raised from the dead. 

When they had finished breakfast, 
Jesus said to Simon Peter, 
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” 
He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” 
He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 
A second time he said to him, 
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?” 
He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” 
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 
He said to him the third time, 
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?” 
Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, 
“Do you love me?” And he said to him, 
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” 
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 
Truly, truly, I say to you, 
when you were young, 
you fastened your own belt and walked where you would; 
but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, 
and another will fasten your belt for you  
and bring you where you do not wish to go.” 
(This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) 
And after this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

The Gospel of the Lord. 

Reflection on the Readings 

The leader reads the text prepared by the priest and leads the sharing.

There was a family who moved from Joburg to England. The whole family was missing South Africa very much, especially when Christmas was just around the corner and the whole place was covered in snow. Mum went to pick up her grade 2 son from school. His teacher told her about a conversation she overheard as the kids were talking about the Christmas break. One boy said, “We’re Catholics, and we are going to Christmas Mass.” Another little boy said, “We’re Jewish, and we’re going to have a Hanukkah celebration.” Her little boy chimed in and said, “We’re South African, and we’re going to have a braai.” 

Today’s Gospel describes a braai with the fire of forgiveness which the Risen Lord prepared for Peter who had denied him three times, and the delicious breakfast of fish grilled on that fire that He prepared for all of them.

The story begins on the Sea of Galilee about three years earlier. Jesus said to Simon and the disciples: “Follow me.” Well, they did follow him.It started so well, but ended terribly. When Jesus was in the midst of the Passion, the frightened and scared Peter denied knowing Jesus three times. Let’s hope Peter and the other disciples get it right this time.

At first, Jesus’ questions to Peter sound like an ego trip. The one who denied Jesus three times is now being offered reconciliation by a triple affirmation of love.

It is easy to identify with Peter. As we look over our recent past we too might count one, two or three times we have denied Jesus by our words or actions. 

At the beginning of Mass we had an opportunity for a three-fold request for mercy when we prayed, “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.” That was our Peter-moment, our chance to be reminded of Jesus’ love for us, even though we are sinners. It was also an opportunity, despite our recent missteps, to say in return, “Lord you know everything, you know that I love you.”

But the conversation with Jesus doesn’t end with their reconciliation, nor does it stop there for us. With Peter we listen in to what follows. Jesus gives Peter a life plan for the future: he is to feed Jesus’ lambs and tend his sheep. Peter will do just that and, as we hear in today’s first reading, he will be dragged before the Sanhedrin for witnessing to Jesus’ name. 

He tells the Sanhedrin that he has another witness with him – the Holy Spirit. Last week when the risen Christ appeared to the disciples locked behind closed doors, He said, “Peace be with you” and then breathed the Holy Spirit into them. 

And that made all of the difference in Peter and the disciples’ lives. They would go from guilt to reconciliation with Christ, and under the Spirit’s influence, they could offer the same forgiveness they had received. They would do for others what Jesus had done for them. And more! Like Jesus, they would heal the sick; reach out to the Gentiles; eat with society’s outcasts and offer peace to friends and opponents as well.

If we met the risen Lord today, as the disciples did that day by the lakeside, I wonder what he would ask us first?  Would he ask:”How many people have gone online and registered in this parish?” “How is the back up generator for the church coming along?” Etc. 

While these are not insignificant concerns still, I think he would first ask his triple-question, “Do you love me?” 

At this Mass, we are making Peter’s response, as best we can, “You know everything Lord, you know that I love you.” Based on today’s Scriptures, I think I know what Jesus would do next. He would give himself to us as food and renew us in his Spirit. 

Then, because love always involves responsibility, he would add, “Since you love me, now go out and tend and feed my sheep.” If we respond, “Yes,” when he asks if we love him, then how can we refuse to also say “Yes” when we encounter another’s need – the sick, lonely, or wounded, sorrowing and defeated? 

“If you love me, take care of my people…,” should echo in our spirits. And there in our spirits the Holy Spirit waits to help us witness to Jesus’s words and deeds.

There is a cost to responding to Jesus’ renewed invitation today. He names it for Peter and for us. He tells Peter that when he gets older someone will tie his hands and lead him to a place he would not go. The reference seems to be to Peter’s future suffering and death because of his witness to Christ. The first reading hints to what’s ahead for Peter and the others. So many of them were martyred for their faith. 

As we mature in faith, (“when you grow old”), where might the road take us?It is easy to say: ‘Oh, God has a plan for me. God will tell me what to do. God’s plan is not like that. God has given each of us gifts and grace and talents and unconditional love. God expects us to use those gifts out of our own free will to build up treasure in heaven – and so be with God in eternal joy.

We have almost 2000 years of examples of those who were amazing in their response to Jesus. Each of us also has up-close examples of family members, neighbours and other parishioners whose Christian lives have also been inspirational – perhaps not on the world’s stage, but certainly in the spotlight of our lives. 

We know how profoundly these people have responded to the invitation Jesus gave his disciples, “Follow me… feed my lambs… tend my sheep.” 

Many of them made sacrifices and went to places they might not otherwise have gone. But by their example, they showed us what good can come to the world because faithful ones, accompanied by the Holy Spirit, give witness by their lives to the unconditional love of God. 

From today’s Gospel reading:

Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time,

“Do you love me?” and said to him,

“Lord you know everything, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

Reflection:

Perhaps, like Peter, we too might count one, two or three times recently when we have denied Jesus by our words or actions. At the beginning of today’s Eucharist we made a three-fold request for mercy – “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.” That was our Peter-moment – our chance to be reminded of Jesus’ love for us, even though we are sinners. It was also an opportunity to add, “Lord you know everything, you know that I love you.”

So we ask ourselves: 

  • What touched me in the readings today?
  • What shape do my denials of Jesus take in my daily life?
  • How can I stop those denials and concretely do better at affirming my faith in the risen Christ?

Prayer of the Faithful

Leader:         

Trusting in God our Father, we turn to him with all our needs.

Reader:

We pray for Pope Francis: that God will strengthen and inspire him as he leads the church in seeking the reign of God, deepening our loving service, and growing in unity as God’s family.

LORD HEAR US

We pray for our world: (pause) that nations may learn together how to share more fairly the goods our world provides. 

LORD HEAR US

We pray for our young people: (pause) that they may be encouraged to use their talents for the creation of a better world.

LORD HEAR US

We pray for the grace of awareness: that God will open our minds and hearts to recognize Christ in the Eucharist, the people, events, and experiences of daily life.

LORD HEAR US

We pray for all who are suffering, especially those affected by the floods in KZN: that God will heal the sick, comfort the grieving, guide refugees to safety, and open resources to those who lack food and medicine

LORD HEAR US

We pray for members of our families and friends who have died and those whose anniversaries occur about this time.

LORD HEAR US

We pray for Maureen Kohler and Henry Kruger who died this week. 
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.

And let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. AMEN

Leader:         Let us pray our Easter Prayer:

Lord God, you loved the world so much,
that you gave your only Son,
that we might be called your children too.
Lord, help us to live in the gladness
and grace of Easter everyday.
Let us have hearts of thankfulness for your sacrifice.
Let us have eyes that look upon your grace
and rejoice in our salvation.
Help us to walk in that mighty grace
and tell your good news to the world.
We ask this through Christ our Lord,
Amen.

Spiritual Communion

We can unite ourselves to the Eucharist through making a spiritual Communion.

By making an Act of Spiritual Communion, we express our faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and ask him to unite himself with us. 

My Jesus, I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament. 
I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to receive you. 
But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment, feed my soul spiritually. I unite myself to you now as I do when I receive you. Amen.

CONCLUDING RITE

Leader:         Let us pray to the Father in the words Jesus our Saviour gave us: 

All say:          Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Amen.

Leader:         God of life,
in your risen Son
you reveal your abiding presence among us
and summon those reborn in baptism
to lives of worship and service.

Fill this assembly with reverence
as we come before you in prayer.
Grant us courage and zeal
in bearing witness before the world
to your Son, Jesus Christ, the firstborn from the dead,
who lives and reigns with you now and always
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.

All:                  Amen.

Blessing

A leader who is a layperson, using no gesture, says:

Leader:         May the God who has redeemed us and made us adopted children
through the resurrection of his only Son
bless us and fill us with joy.
R. Amen.

May the God who has bestowed on us
the gifts of redemption and lasting freedom
make us heirs of eternal life.
R. Amen.

May the God who joined us to Christ’s resurrection
by faith and baptism
lead us to live justly
and so bring us to our home in heaven.
R. Amen.

Leader:          May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Alleluia. Alleluia.

All:                 Amen. Alleluia. Alleluia.

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