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Liturgy of the Sunday

Third Sunday of Easter Read more

Liturgy of the Sunday
Sunday, April 14

Third Sunday of Easter

First Reading

Acts 3,13-15.17-19

It is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, who has glorified his servant Jesus whom you handed over and then disowned in the presence of Pilate after he had given his verdict to release him. It was you who accused the Holy and Upright One, you who demanded that a murderer should be released to you while you killed the prince of life. God, however, raised him from the dead, and to that fact we are witnesses; 'Now I know, brothers, that neither you nor your leaders had any idea what you were really doing; but this was the way God carried out what he had foretold, when he said through all his prophets that his Christ would suffer. Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out,


Psalm 4


Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord.

When I call, answer me O God of justice;
from anguish you released me,
have mercy and hear me!

O men, how long will your hearts be closed,
will you love what is futile and seek what is false?

It is the Lord who grants favours to those whom he loves;
the Lord hears me whenever I call him.

Fear him; do not sin:
ponder on your bed and be still.

Make justice your sacrifice
and trust in the Lord.

'What can bring us happiness?' many say
Lift up the light of your face on us, O Lord.

You have put into my heart a greater joy
than they have from abundance of corn and new wine.

I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Second Reading

1 John 2,1-5

My children, I am writing this to prevent you from sinning; but if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the upright. He is the sacrifice to expiate our sins, and not only ours, but also those of the whole world. In this way we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says, 'I know him' without keeping his commandments, is a liar, and truth has no place in him. But anyone who does keep his word, in such a one God's love truly reaches its perfection. This is the proof that we are in God.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 24,35-48

Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread. They were still talking about all this when he himself stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you!' In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, 'Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts stirring in your hearts? See by my hands and my feet that it is I myself. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.' And as he said this he showed them his hands and his feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, as they were dumbfounded; so he said to them, 'Have you anything here to eat?' And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes. Then he told them, 'This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms, was destined to be fulfilled.' He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, 'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia


This Sunday's Gospel takes us back to Easter evening. The two disciples on their way to Emmaus had hurried back to Jerusalem and were telling the others what had happened to them. And then Jesus "in person" appears in their midst and greets them again saying: "Peace be with you." Jesus finds them still incredulous, amazed, full of doubt. And not only that evening. Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles, writes that Jesus "After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over the course of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3). We could say that Jesus took forty days to make the disciples understand the mystery of his death and resurrection, so central is this mystery to Jesus for having faith in him.
The disciples were attached to their doubts. We must be aware that there is a subtle temptation in doubt, that of never choosing, thus maintaining an inner reservation. Doubt can of course come but cultivating it and cherishing it ends up making us think we are clever and intelligent, but actually making us sad. We could say that those forty days were like a great school during which Jesus explained Moses and the Prophets to them, and this time the evangelist also adds the Psalms. Listening to the Scriptures and the preaching done by Jesus, the disciples dissolved their doubts and hardships and were freed from fear and dread. But Jesus showed them the power of his resurrection by which he had defeated evil, and which was to be communicated to all: "repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem."
Jesus breaks down the walls of the room where they had shut themselves in out of fear, and he hears before him all peoples. To that frightened little group, Jesus says that they must go out to all peoples, no one excluded: all have the right to encounter the Gospel, the good news of salvation that consists in conversion, that is, in the fruit that is reaped after preaching and in the gift of forgiveness from the Lord. From Easter day onwards, the universal dream of Jesus is clear. At the end of the meeting Jesus says to them: "You are witnesses of these things." This is the first time that Luke's Gospel uses the term "witnesses" in relation to the disciples. The risen Lord wants us to be passionate witnesses and not uncertain and cautious officials; joyful witnesses and not fearful disciples protected by closed doors; witnesses, who live what they communicate and who by communicating it, learn to live it.

Prayer is the heart of the life of the Community of Sant'Egidio and is its absolute priority. At the end of the day, every the Community of Sant'Egidio, large or small, gathers around the Lord to listen to his Word. The Word of God and the prayer are, in fact, the very basis of the whole life of the Community. The disciples cannot do other than remain at the feet of Jesus, as did Mary of Bethany, to receive his love and learn his ways (Phil. 2:5).
So every evening, when the Community returns to the feet of the Lord, it repeats the words of the anonymous disciple: " Lord, teach us how to pray". Jesus, Master of prayer, continues to answer: "When you pray, say: Abba, Father". It is not a simple exhortation, it is much more. With these words Jesus lets the disciples participate in his own relationship with the Father. Therefore in prayer, the fact of being children of the Father who is in heaven, comes before the words we may say. So praying is above all a way of being! That is to say we are children who turn with faith to the Father, certain that they will be heard.
Jesus teaches us to call God "Our Father". And not simply "Father" or "My Father". Disciples, even when they pray on their own, are never isolated nor they are orphans; they are always members of the Lord's family.
In praying together, beside the mystery of being children of God, there is also the mystery of brotherhood, as the Father of the Church said: "You cannot have God as father without having the church as mother". When praying together, the Holy Spirit assembles the disciples in the upper room together with Mary, the Lord's mother, so that they may direct their gaze towards the Lord's face and learn from Him the secret of his Heart.
 The Communities of Sant'Egidio all over the world gather in the various places of prayer and lay before the Lord the hopes and the sufferings of the tired, exhausted crowds of which the Gospel speaks ( Mat. 9: 3-7 ), In these ancient crowds we can see the huge masses of the modern cities, the millions of refugees who continue to flee their countries, the poor, relegated to the very fringe of life and all those who are waiting for someone to take care of them. Praying together includes the cry, the invocation, the aspiration, the desire for peace, the healing and salvation of the men and women of this world. Prayer is never in vain; it rises ceaselessly to the Lord so that anguish is turned into hope, tears into joy, despair into happiness, and solitude into communion. May the Kingdom of God come soon among people!