April 22nd, 2012, Third Sunday of Easter
Discussion Questions for Reading 1What are some ways people can choose to respond when they discover that they have made a serious mistake? Give examples of what they might say or do. How do you think the Jewish people who heard Peter's speech might have responded? When others object to our beliefs as Catholics, what do you think is the best way to respond? Why?
Imagine that a friend or classmate has made a bad decision that has hurt others as well as himself or herself. How might you help this person to turn back to God?
Reading 1 Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
Reading 1 ReflectionIf you have ever made a serious mistake out of ignorance, you will have some idea how the people in today's reading felt when they heard Peter's speech. It was shortly after Jesus' death and resurrection. Peter wanted them to understand that they had disowned their own Messiah when they insisted that Pilate release Barabbas rather than Jesus. They did not expect a suffering Messiah. So they "put to death the Author of Life."
But now they have an opportunity to recognize the truth about Jesus and accept him as the Savior sent by God. Peter urges them to reform their lives and turn back to God.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Imagine that a younger brother or sister has done something wrong. He or she is afraid to tell Mom or Dad about it. How might you try to be helpful in this situation? If you decided to speak to your parents on behalf of your brother or sister, you would be acting as an intercessor. How is Jesus an intercessor for us? When is the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins renewed and celebrated in our parish?
Why do you think forgiveness is a sign of genuine love? What is your favorite story of forgiveness, inside or outside the Bible?
Reading 2 1 John 2:1-5a
Reading 2 ReflectionIn past ages, it was common for parents and grandparents to write letters of advice and encouragement to their children. Today's reading is from a letter of John to his spiritual children, the Christian community. The letter assures us that even when we sin, Jesus continues to love us. He intercedes for us with the Father. And the Father hears Jesus' prayer because Jesus gave his life as a sacrifice to take away the sins of the world.
If we live by John's advice, we will show our love for God by keeping his commandments. We will forgive others as we have been forgiven.
Whom do you see witnessing to Christ?
Discussion Questions for GospelRecall a time when a friend or family member appeared "out of the blue" when he or she was not expected. How did you respond? What are some of the reasons you think the disciples had such a hard time believing that their unexpected visitor was really Jesus? Why do you think disciples then and now do not always understand the Scriptures? Think of a time when you had a "Eureka!" experience of really catching on to what God's word meant. What was that like?
The two disciples who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus also did not recognize Jesus until they shared a meal with him. How does the gospel say they came to know him? How do we know him in that same way?
Gospel Luke 24:35-48
Gospel ReflectionThis reading from Luke's Gospel could be called "The Ghost Story That Wasn't." Two disciples who had just met the risen Jesus on the road are telling their story to the other disciples. Then right in the middle of their story, Jesus appears and says, "Peace be with you." The frightened disciples think they are seeing a ghost. Jesus has to show them his wounds and even eat a piece of fish to prove that he is real. The good news is so good that the disciples find it hard to believe at first.
Because they are still not sure what to make of him, Jesus explains how he has fulfilled the Scriptures by his suffering, death and resurrection. In his name, they will go out to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins for all people.