Read this week's guidelines and be nourished as you journey with our Community in Cebu.
'Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?'
May 1-7, 2017
Jesus himself drew near and walked along with them.” (Lk.24:15)
To teach the apostles to accompany the new people with their life and their words based on how Jesus accompanied his apostles after the resurrection.
Objective of the week:
To gather and recall the fruits of the Resurrection from our Easter experiences, especially to recognize how the Lord accompanied us and changed our lives.
As we have accompanied Jesus closely in the Passover, his passion, death and resurrection, we have learned from Him how to live and love without limits. He lived His life loving us unconditionally. Even on the cross, Jesus continued to show that limitless love. On Good Friday it seemed that Christ was defeated but on Easter Sunday we discover that Resurrection reverses what we initially thought and declares, “Christ defeated death!”
The Resurrection of Christ is the greatest of the miracles - it proves that Jesus is God, and it proves that His message is true. It gives us the joyful message that we are “Resurrected people”. We are not supposed to lie buried in the tomb of our sins but to live alive with Him.
So Jesus appeared to the women and to his disciples, walking along with them, encouraging them, instructing them, guiding them. It only proves that God’s mercy is bigger than our sins. Love indeed is stronger than death, has no boundaries, and is limitless. Resurrection is the promise of Jesus that He will never stop working for our salvation and so are we. Jesus is telling us, ‘My Father is always working, and I too must work.’” (John 5:17)
Now that we have experienced being resurrected with Christ, what’s next? How can we keep this fire of our discipleship burning within us? Together let us fix our eyes on Jesus in order to learn from Him how to accompany our brothers and sisters through the accompaniment Jesus did to his beloved disciples.
JESUS WALKS ALONG WITH US
On that same day two of Jesus’ followers were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking to each other about all the things that had happened. As they talked and discussed, Jesus himself drew near and walked along with them; they saw him, but somehow did not recognize him. Jesus said to them, “What are you talking about to each other, as you walk along?”
They stood still, with sad faces. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that have been happening there these last few days?”
“What things?” he asked.
“The things that happened to Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered. “This man was a prophet and was considered by God and by all the people to be powerful in everything he said and did. Our chief priests and rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and he was crucified. And we had hoped that he would be the one who was going to set Israel free! Besides all that, this is now the third day since it happened. Some of the women of our group surprised us; they went at dawn to the tomb, but could not find his body. They came back saying they had seen a vision of angels who told them that he is alive. Some of our group went to the tomb and found it exactly as the women had said, but they did not see him.”
Then Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are, how slow you are to believe everything the prophets said! Was it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and then to enter his glory?” And Jesus explained to them what was said about himself in all the Scriptures, beginning with the books of Moses and the writings of all the prophets. (Luke 24:13-27)
In our journey we have our own Emmaus to go to. A place to get away from reality, from situations of fear and lack of faith that had killed in us our hope. These situations are also the situations of many persons today. Like Jesus we can get close to them, walk with them, listen to their reality and use the Word of God to enlighten life, clarify the situation they are in to. With God’s Words we help the people to discover the wisdom which already exists in them, and transform the cross, a sign of death, into a sign of life and of hope. What prevented them from walking, now becomes for them force, strength and light on the journey. How can we do this today?
JESUS OPENS OUR MINDS
TO UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURES
While the two were telling them this, suddenly the Lord himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were terrified, thinking that they were seeing a ghost. But he said to them, “Why are you alarmed? Why are these doubts coming up in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet, and see that it is I myself. Feel me, and you will know, for a ghost doesn't have flesh and bones, as you can see I have.” He said this and showed them his hands and his feet. They still could not believe, they were so full of joy and wonder; so he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of cooked fish, which he took and ate in their presence. Then he said to them, “These are the very things I told you about while I was still with you: everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the writings of the prophets, and the Psalms had to come true.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “This is what is written: the Messiah must suffer and must rise from death three days later, and in his name the message about repentance and the forgiveness of sins must be preached to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And I myself will send upon you what my Father has promised. But you must wait in the city until the power from above comes down upon you.” (Luke 24:36-49)
In the resurrection of Jesus we are made to become witnesses of this in such a way that the love of God which accepted us and forgave us would be manifested and which wanted us to live in community as sons and daughters, brothers and sisters with one another. But sometimes doubts set in the heart, weaken our faith concerning the presence of God in our life. Let us continue praying and preaching the Word without ceasing in order to keep this fire burning within us so that the truth and the Good News will be proclaimed anew.
As Verbum Dei, do we realize the importance of our role as witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection for others to have a deeper understanding about the scriptures?
JESUS BREAKS HIMSELF FOR OUR SAKE
As they came near the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther; but they held him back, saying, “Stay with us; the day is almost over and it is getting dark.” So he went in to stay with them. He sat down to eat with them, took the bread, and said the blessing; then he broke the bread and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. They said to each other, “Wasn’t it like a fire burning in us when he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us? They got up at once and went back to Jerusalem, where they found the eleven disciples gathered together with the others and saying, “The Lord is risen indeed! He has appeared to Simon!”
The two then explained to them what had happened on the road and how they had recognize the Lord when he broke the bread. (Luke 24:28-35)
Every time we listen to God's words, it make our hearts burnt like fire within but only in the breaking of the bread that our eyes are open and makes us see the Good News of Resurrection. To resurrect is to go back to Jerusalem, the heart of worship in order to renew our faith, to hope again and to continue to be of service to others.
The breaking and giving of himself are gestures of love, sharing and communion in the community. What breaking of ourselves that Jesus is inviting us to do so that others may discover and understand the Words of God and makes them go back to Jerusalem?
JESUS IS CALLING US TO COME TO HIM
After this, Jesus appeared once more to his disciples at Lake Tiberias. This is how it happened. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael (the one from Cana in Galilee), the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples of Jesus were all together. Simon Peter said to the others, “I am going fishing.”
“We will come with you,” they told him. So they went out in a boat, but all that night they did not catch a thing. As the sun was rising, Jesus stood at the water's edge, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then he asked them, “Young men, haven't you caught anything?”
“Not a thing,” they answered.
He said to them, “Throw your net out on the right side of the boat, and you will catch some.” So they threw the net out and could not pull it back in, because they had caught so many fish.
The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Peter heard that it was the Lord, he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken his clothes off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples came to shore in the boat, pulling the net full of fish. They were not very far from land, about a hundred yards away. When they stepped ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there with fish on it and some bread. Then Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net ashore full of big fish, a hundred and fifty-three in all; even though there were so many, still the net did not tear. Jesus said to them, “Come and eat.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. So Jesus went over, took the bread, and gave it to them; he did the same with the fish. (John 21:1-13)
After the resurrection of Jesus we may have experienced a spiritual high. But somehow, the excitement subsided. Then we go back to our old ways, our old habits, and simply wanted to stay in our comfort zone. When we do this we feel far from Him. But Jesus is calling us to come closer, into a deep relationship with Him through prayer, to have a daily and constant dialogue with Him. He calls us to go to the Eucharistic celebration where He continuously breaks and giving himself to nourish us; to go to confession as often as we should be for we are not meant to remain in the tomb of sins. Will you do so? Are you willing to walk closely and intimately with our Lord?
JESUS’ RESURRECTION CLOTHE US WITH NEW SELF
You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits on his throne at the right side of God. Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Your real life is Christ and when he appears, then you too will appear with him and share his glory!
You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you. And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity. The peace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make; for it is to this peace that God has called you together in the one body. And be thankful. Christ's message in all its richness must live in your hearts. Teach and instruct one another with all wisdom. Sing psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing to God with thanksgiving in your hearts. Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks through him to God the Father.
(Colossians 3:1-4, 12-17)
The resurrection of Jesus has put to death what is earthly in our life. He destroyed egoism, wickedness, envy, excessive confidence in oneself, etc. Christ joined us to Him and made us share in all his wealth. He put on the new self in us, the Christ in us. We don't look only after our own daily renewal but also to have a communal attitude, a constant concern for others. Jesus is inviting us to give what He has given us; to do what He has done for us. It is because we are all part of His Body and each one was made in God's image and likeness.
How do you find Jesus valuing our life?
Do we realize how precious each one’s life for Him?
JESUS SENDS US TO GO NEAR TO THE OTHERS
An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get ready and go south to the road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This road is not used nowadays.) So Philip got ready and went. Now an Ethiopian eunuch, who was an important official in charge of the treasury of the queen of Ethiopia, was on his way home. He had been to Jerusalem to worship God and was going back home in his carriage. As he rode along, he was reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah. The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to that carriage and stay close to it.” Philip ran over and heard him reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah. He asked him, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
The official replied, “How can I understand unless someone explains it to me?” And he invited Philip to climb up and sit in the carriage with him. The passage of scripture which he was reading was this: “He was like a sheep that is taken to be slaughtered, like a lamb that makes no sound when its wool is cut off. He did not say a word. He was humiliated, and justice was denied him. No one will be able to tell about his descendants, because his life on earth has come to an end.”
The official asked Philip, “Tell me, of whom is the prophet saying this? Of himself or of someone else?” Then Philip began to speak; starting from this passage of scripture, he told him the Good News about Jesus. As they traveled down the road, they came to a place where there was some water, and the official said, “Here is some water. What is to keep me from being baptized?”
The official ordered the carriage to stop, and both Philip and the official went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away. The official did not see him again, but continued on his way, full of joy. (Acts 8:26-39)
The Resurrection of Jesus makes us sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit and to the needs of others. Our mission is not limited only to our fellow Christians, who are struggling in trying to understand our faith, but also to those people in other religion, sects, the gentiles of today and the marginalized. Jesus is inviting us to go to our brothers and sisters because we don't know who among them are struggling in trying to understand the events of life and those who doesn't know Jesus yet.
How can they understand unless someone explains it to them? Can He count on you?
4th SUNDAY of Easter
1st Reading – Acts 2:14, 36-41
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 23
2nd Reading – 1 Peter 2:20-25
Gospel – John 10:1-10