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accessThe early Celts used to say that heaven and earth are only three feet apart, and that in the “thin places” the distance is even smaller.
 
Today, we sometimes stand mute, gazing upon the Milky Way glowing in the night sky or waves dashing themselves upon rocky coasts or mountain summits scraping the sky.
 
But thin places are not confined to the physical. There are thin places of the mind and of the soul, where the earthly encounters the transcendent.
 
God’s creation is intense with his divinity. Divinity embraces us and reveals itself if we but recognize it: a friend’s smile, an infant’s finger, a stranger’s kind remark.
 
An act of mercy, too, can bring a bit of paradise to earth, when we respond with charity to the beggar’s outstretched hand, the eyes of a starving child, the immigrant seeking refuge.
 
We hear in the gospel story of the morning the apostles came in from fishing to find Jesus—whom they had seen crucified—waiting for them with a hot breakfast. None of them asked, “Who are you?” They stood in mute silence, because they realized it was the risen Lord, extending, in the form of a meal, his inexhaustible mercy.
 
Our prayer today:
 

In your great mercy, Heavenly Father,
you have given us a creation alive with your divine presence.
Help us always to cherish and advance it.

 
Peter W. Yaremko, a former journalist, is the owner of Executive Media, Inc. and is a specialist in executive communications. He attends St. Peter the Apostle Church in Provincetown, Massachusetts and blogs at peterwyaremko.com/paradise_diaries.

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“When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children, have you caught anything to eat?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ So he said to them, ‘Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.’ So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord’” (John 21:4-12).
 
Global positioning devices are great tools to help us get where we need to go—and people put a lot of trust in them. You follow along until the GPS tells you to “turn left in 500 feet,” but it isn’t the right road! You decide to ignore the GPS and look for a familiar road, and the device recalculates the route.
 
Over the past few weeks, the Gospel readings have followed the disciples in a similar situation. Until Passover, they’d been traveling with Jesus and spreading his message, and they thought they’d keep doing just that. But things changed—drastically! So, they decided to just go back to fishing—something they knew well—to help them get their bearings.
 
We often do the same thing when things seem crazy; we go back to what feels comfortable to give us time to think or to get used to our new reality. It’s like a moment when the GPS says, “Take next exit on right” and you see that familiar landmark ahead: it’s just enough to relax you.
 
As often happens to us, the disciples see something they don’t expect—for them it was someone on shore with a small fire. He tells them to try fishing on the other side of the boat, and, for some reason, they listen. When they recognize him as Jesus, everything begins to make sense, but it’s a new reality. As you get to the exit, you see a new shopping center. Everything else is there, too, and now it all makes sense.
 
It is now up to the apostles, and us, to spread the good news which Jesus has entrusted to us. As the apostles share breakfast with him, their new path becomes clearer, and they know they don’t have to travel it alone. Christ, the true guide, will walk the path with them, just as he will walk with us.
 
How has God guided me in my life even when I thought another way was better?
 
Adapted from Word on the Go, a downloadable resource from RENEW International.
Painting by Kristin Serafini.

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missionIn his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul recounts the number of persons who saw the risen Christ. In addition to the Apostles and the women, “he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time”
(1 Cor 15: 3-8).
 
Even with this witness, Jesus gave great encouragement directly to us, who live 2,000 years later, when he said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
 
But is it true that we in the 21st century cannot see Jesus? Don’t we see him in the poor and the imprisoned, in the hungry and thirsty?
 
Pope Francis, in a 2014 general audience, reminded us that it “is through our brothers and sisters that he comes to us and makes himself known. This is what belonging to the church means.”
 
Perhaps we get the best glimpse of Jesus in his acts of mercy, the Pope adds. For example, when Thomas refuses to believe the other apostles, Jesus does not abandon Thomas in his stubborn unbelief. He waits.
 
As St. Thomas Aquinas said, to one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.
 
Our prayer today:
 

Lord,
help us always see your face
in our brothers and sisters
and reflect your mercy toward them
through our faith.

 
Peter W. Yaremko, a former journalist, is the owner of Executive Media, Inc. and is a specialist in executive communications. He attends St. Peter the Apostle Church in Provincetown, Massachusetts and blogs at peterwyaremko.com/paradise_diaries.

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“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you’” (John 20:19-21).
 
This Gospel passage gives us a window into a time of bewilderment and confusion. The disciples are huddled together in fear—their leader and friend has been crucified, and they might be next.
 
Into this scene of apprehension, pain, and uncertainty, Jesus appears and wishes them peace! So, the friend they abandoned when he was arrested and killed by the authorities is alive, standing in front of them and wishing them peace. Quite a shock for sure. To top it all off, Jesus tells them to go out and spread his message of peace. Yet, somehow, they believe.
 
While working in Iraq in 2005, four members of Christian Peacemaker Teams were kidnapped and held for 118 days, and one was murdered. Yet, when they were asked to speak at the trials of the kidnappers, they said: “We unconditionally forgive our captors for abducting and holding us. We have no desire to punish them… What our captors did was wrong… Yet, we bear no malice towards them and have no wish for retribution…”
 
This profound witness does not negate the suffering that took place: when Jesus appeared to the disciples his body still bore the marks of his crucifixion. These former hostages certainly bore the emotional marks of their captivity, and yet they responded to their suffering and pain with words of peace and reconciliation. Rather, the power of this peaceful response is even greater because it is in answer to suffering and pain, not an easy thing. We, too, carry marks of events and people that have wounded us, and it can be quite difficult to move on. Yet, we are called by our faith and by Jesus to offer peace, to forgive, and even to draw positive strength from such experiences. We can choose to stay hidden in fear or to step out and bring about peace.
 
When have you experienced goodness, new life, or peace ultimately coming from a painful situation?
 
Adapted from Word on the Go, a downloadable resource from RENEW International.

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EucharistIn many churches of the Eastern rites, it’s traditional for the congregation to gather outside the sealed church on Easter morning, symbolizing Christ’s time in the tomb. The priest, with his hand cross, knocks three times on the main door, and it is thrown open. The people enter, as if entering Christ’s kingdom, to adore their risen Savior in the Eucharist.
 
The ritual may remind us of the opening of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica that began this Jubilee Year of Mercy—illustrating the idea that, during the Jubilee, the faithful are offered what Pope Francis called an “extraordinary pathway” towards salvation.
 
In an important way, the message of Easter is forever linked to the message of the Last Supper.
 
At the Last Supper, Jesus transformed bread and wine into his body and blood. In his resurrection, the risen Christ gives himself to us both in the fullness of his divinity and in his glorified humanity.
 
As Pope Francis suggests: “In the Eucharist we feel this belonging to the Church, to the People of God, to the Body of God, to Jesus Christ. We will never completely grasp the value and the richness of it.”
 
Our prayer today:
 

Merciful Jesus,
we pray to become more and more worthy
of the gift of your body and blood
in the Holy Eucharist.

 
Peter W. Yaremko, a former journalist, is the owner of Executive Media, Inc. and is a specialist in executive communications. He attends St. Peter the Apostle Church in Provincetown, Massachusetts and blogs at peterwyaremko.com/paradise_diaries.

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