This Week's Liturgy
You are witnesses
April 19th, 2015 (see other dates)
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.
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.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
My WitnessesThe gospel reading concludes with Jesus telling his disciples that they are to witness to his life, death, and Resurrection. Teach the following song to the children to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb.
You shall be my witnesses,
My witnesses, my witnesses.
You shall be my witnesses
To everyone you meet.
Tell them how I lived and died,
Lived and died, lived and died.
Tell them how I lived and died;
And rose to have new life.
The Risen JesusRead the gospel and then discuss it with the children. Ask questions such as,
“How did the disciples react when they saw the risen Jesus?”Gather the children in a circle. Place a picture of the risen Jesus in the center of the circle. Lead the children in the following prayer.
“Why were they afraid?”
“Have you ever been afraid?”
“Do you think you would have reacted the same way as the apostles if you saw the risen Jesus?”
“What did Jesus do to calm the fears of the apostles?”
“Dear Jesus, Lord of peace,
be with us today and always.
Calm our fears and doubts.
Help us to live as your faithful children.
This we pray. Amen.”
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Interceding for OthersTo intercede for someone is to pray to God on their behalf, as Jesus prays to the Father for us. Alone or with a partner, write three prayers or petitions under each of the three categories listed below. Offer these petitions daily for one week.
For Peace and Justice Causes
Share your petitions in a group prayer service.
Recognizing JesusThe disciples did not at first recognize the risen Jesus. He was the same Jesus they had known before he rose from the dead. But he was transformed in some way that made it harder to recognize him.
Complete each of the following statements to share how you have recognized Jesus in those who follow him.
I have recognized Jesus in a friend or classmate who ___________________________________
I have recognized Jesus in a parent or teacher who ___________________________________
I have recognized Jesus in a priest or missionary who ___________________________________
I hope others have recognized Jesus in me when I _______________________________________
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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