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Risen Lord,
may the miracle of your resurrection,
through which you overcame for humanity
the consequences of both sin and death,
always be for me a source of amazement and joy,
and may I never waver in my gratitude
for your gift of eternal life.
Amen.

 
Adapted from RENEW International’s LIVE LENT! Year C by Sr. Terry Rickard, OP and Deacon Charles Paolino.

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A reading from the Acts of the Apostles
(Chapter 10:34a, 37-43)
 
The Acts of the Apostles is regarded as a continuation of Saint Luke’s Gospel, completing the story of what happened after the resurrection. Peter speaks for the community and recounts the major events in the life of Jesus: his anointing with the Holy Spirit, his ministry of healing and other good deeds, his death and resurrection, and his appearance as the resurrected Lord, eating and drinking with the disciples. Peter wants everyone to know that he and the other apostles have been “commissioned” by Jesus to preach the good news and that “everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”
 
Imagine how difficult all this was for Peter and the other apostles. They had lost their friend and leader in whom they had placed all their hope. They had given up everything to follow him, and then they lost him to a horrible death. They could have called it quits and returned to their former lives. There were probably many who encouraged them to stop risking their lives and lead a “normal” life, but they persisted. Why? Somehow, in ways we cannot understand, they still experienced the presence of Jesus. He was still there for them, and they continued to answer his call. Because of those relatively few courageous people, we have a community, a Church. Let us be thankful for them.
 
Responsorial Psalm
(Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23)
 
“This is the day the Lord has made: let us be glad and rejoice.” What do you rejoice in today and every day?
 
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Colossians
(Chapter 3:1-4)
 
The resurrection is not only something that happened to Jesus two thousand years ago. It is something that we, too, live every day. We were raised with Christ. There is a new life for us not only in the next life but starting now. We can live in the Spirit, because the Spirit has been given to each of us. We do not live alone. We live in the Spirit, and the Spirit connects us to God and to one another. We are all brothers and sisters in the Spirit. Let us rejoice this day.
 
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John
(Chapter 20:1-9)
 
It is surprising that in the deeply patriarchal society of the time, the author of this Gospel reports that the first person who learned that Jesus was no longer in the tomb was a woman. And it was the same woman, Mary Magdalene, who told the shocking news to Peter. When Peter and John entered the tomb, they get it. His body was not stolen. Something else happened. Now, their challenge was to convince the others that they were not out of their minds, that something else had happened that they could not yet explain.
 
There is no historical account of the resurrection itself. We know that it was not a resuscitation. The physical body of Jesus did die. The risen Jesus was different, but so real that the apostles and many others placed their faith in him and he in turn gave them and now us the presence of the Holy Spirit always present in our lives and in our Church, even in our darkest moments. It is a matter of faith. It is, in fact, the basis of our faith. HAPPY EASTER! HAPPY RESURRECTION! HAPPY NEW LIFE!
 
Excerpts from the English translation of the Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL). All rights reserved.
 
Bill Ayres was a founder, with the late singer Harry Chapin, of WhyHunger. He has been a radio and TV broadcaster for 40 years and has two weekly Sunday-night shows on WPLJ, 95.5 FM in New York. He is a member of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Centerport, New York.

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Suffering God,
open our hearts to the many abuses
of human life, liberty, and dignity.
We believe that in each person is found the Creator’s image
and that everyone who tramples it offends God.
As holy defender of God’s rights and of his images,
the Church is called to cry out.
It endures as spittle in its face,
as lashes on its back,
as the cross in its passion,
all that human beings suffer, even unbelievers.
Whoever tortures a human being,
whoever outrages a human being,
abuses God’s image.
The Church takes as its own that cross, that martyrdom.
Give us the courage to accompany those who suffer, speak truth,
and fight injustice in the name of Jesus, the suffering Messiah.
Amen.
[Based on Saint Oscar Romero’s words from December 31, 1977, in the compendium
The Violence of Love]

 
Adapted from RENEW International’s LIVE LENT! Year C by Sr. Terry Rickard, OP and Deacon Charles Paolino.

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AT THE PROCESSION WITH PALMS
 
A reading from the Gospel according to Luke
(Chapter 19:28-40)
 
Luke tells us of a joyous procession of the followers of Jesus into Jerusalem. You would think, just from this reading, that Jesus is about to be accepted as the true Messiah, not crucified as a dangerous criminal. How did the situation change so radically and lead to his death just a few days later? On one level, the politics of the time, Jesus is obviously a threat to the Roman rulers, and on the religious level he is also a threat to the Pharisees and Sadducees whose seat of power was the Temple in Jerusalem. Suppose the majority of the people turned against them and wanted Jesus as their leader. The Romans would never have let that happen, and they had the military power to prevent it. At the same time, the religious leaders’ power existed only with the support of Rome, which would not be happy with some upstart prophet leading a rebellion against their authority or that of the Temple.
 
On another level, however, there was God’s plan that was not about any specific earthly power but rather about salvation, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, for all people for all time.
 
READINGS AT MASS
 
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah
(Chapter 50:4-7)
 
Isaiah tells of a Suffering Servant. “The Lord God has given me a well- trained tongue, that I may know how to speak to the weary a word that may arouse them. Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back. … The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced.” Throughout history, Jesus has been seen as the Suffering Servant Isaiah envisioned, the one who came not to be served but to serve, the one who came to die for us.
 
Responsorial Psalm
(Psalm 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24)
 
“My God my God, why have you abandoned me?” Jesus prayed these words on the cross, but this is not an utterance of disbelief or despair. We can assume that Jesus knew the whole psalm, including the strong expression of hope that follows these words.
 
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians
(Chapter 3:8-14)
 
“Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
 
This is a remarkable passage from St. Paul who, like all the followers of Jesus, was trying to make sense of who Jesus was. He put together the two parts of the mystery, the human and divine dimensions of Jesus. It is the mystery of our faith: Jesus was not only a prophet and a healer, but also the Son of God who shared the divine life. Paul “got it” and gave his life for it. In this letter, he shares the mystery with his contemporaries and with us.
 
The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke
(Chapter 22:14-23:56)
 
At the beginning of this long reading, Luke recounts the story of Jesus sharing a Passover meal with the apostles. “When the hour came, Jesus took his place at table with the apostles. He said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for I tell you, I shall not eat it again until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.’ Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and said, ‘Take this and share it among yourselves; for I tell you from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is cup is the new covenant in my blood, which shall be said for you.’”
 
This is the beginning of our Eucharist, the one we share today and at every Mass. Yes! It comes from Jesus himself, and for two thousand years people have gathered to celebrate the presence of Jesus in our midst and in our very bodies. The Eucharist binds us to Jesus and to one another every time we celebrate in his name.
 
There is so much more in today’s Gospel. Please listen carefully and read it again. Each time, you will be rewarded with new insights and a growing closeness with Jesus. It is the story of our faith living in us now.
 
Excerpts from the English translation of the Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL). All rights reserved.
 
Bill Ayres was a founder, with the late singer Harry Chapin, of WhyHunger. He has been a radio and TV broadcaster for 40 years and has two weekly Sunday-night shows on WPLJ, 95.5 FM in New York. He is a member of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Centerport, New York.

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My Lord and my God,
you who are slow to anger and
abounding in kindness and compassion,
pour forth your mercy upon me.
Help me to drop the stones of
self-righteous judgment,
and the stones of retribution.
Let me always look with compassion and empathy
on the actions of others.
May I always leave judgment to you.
May I learn to choose forgiveness and love.
Thank you for quietly inviting me
to drop the stones I cling to.
Give me the grace to be held in your abundant love
so I may unclench my fists and be free.
Amen.

 
Adapted from RENEW International’s LIVE LENT! Year C by Sr. Terry Rickard, OP and Deacon Charles Paolino.

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