20 April 2013
Extracted from Acts of the Apostles 5:27-32,40-41:
The high priest demanded an explanation of the Apostles. ‘We gave you a formal warning’ he said ‘not to preach in this name, and what have you done? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and seem determined to fix the guilt of this man’s death on us.’
In reply Peter and the apostles said, ‘Obedience to God comes before obedience to men; it was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, but it was you who had him executed by hanging on a tree. By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and saviour, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel. We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’
and they had the apostles called in, gave orders for them to be flogged, warned them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them.
And so they left the presence of the Sanhedrin glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name.
I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.
I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me
and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O Lord, you have raised my soul from the dead,
restored me to life from those who sink into the grave.
Sing psalms to the Lord, you who love him, give thanks to his holy name.
His anger lasts a moment; his favour all through life.
At night there are tears, but joy comes with dawn.
The Lord listened and had pity. The Lord came to my help.
For me you have changed my mourning into dancing:
O Lord my God, I will thank you for ever.
Extracted from the book of Revelations 5:11-14:
In my vision, I, John, heard the sound of an immense number of angels gathered round the throne and the animals and the elders; there were ten thousand times ten thousand of them and thousands upon thousands, shouting,
‘The Lamb that was sacrificed is worthy to be given power, riches, wisdom, strength, honour, glory and blessing.’
Then I heard all the living things in creation – everything that lives in the air, and on the ground, and under the ground, and in the sea, crying,
‘To the One who is sitting on the throne and to the Lamb, be all praise, honour, glory and power, for ever and ever.’
And the four animals said, ‘Amen’; and the elders prostrated themselves to worship.
On 14 April 2013, the Universal Church celebrated the 3rd Sunday of Easter. Here are the Readings being read in the Eucharistic Celebrations all over the world on the same day:
1st Reading: Acts of the Apostles 5:27-32,40-41 (see above),
Responsorial: Psalm 30:2,4-6,11-13 (see above),
2nd Reading: Revelations 5:11-14 (see above) &
Gospel Reading: John 21:1-19 (see Easter Greetings 2012-Page 2).
We have extracted the Homilies of Blessed Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis I based on the aforesaid Readings to share with you, so that you could similarly be encouraged:
PASTORAL VISIT TO THE PARISH OF ST STEPHEN PROTOMARTYR IN ROME
HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II
Sunday, 26 April 1998
1. “It is the Lord!” (John 21:7). This exclamation of the Apostle John emphasizes the intense emotion experienced by the disciples on recognizing the risen Jesus, who appeared to them for the third time on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias.
John acts as spokesman for the sentiments of Peter and the other Apostles in the presence of the risen Lord. After a long night of loneliness and toil, the dawn arrives and his appearance radically changes everything: the darkness is overcome by light, the fruitless work becomes an easy and abundant catch of fish, the feeling of tiredness and loneliness is transformed into joy and peace.
Since then, these same sentiments enliven the Church. If at a superficial level it sometimes seems that the darkness of evil and the toil of everyday life have the upper hand, the Church knows with certainty that the light of Easter now shines eternally on those who follow Christ. The great message of the Resurrection fills the hearts of the faithful with inner joy and renewed hope.
2. The Acts of the Apostles, which the liturgy has us reread in this Easter season, describes the missionary vitality, rich in joy, which animated the first Christian community even amid difficulties and obstacles of every kind. This same vitality has continued down the centuries through the work of the Holy Spirit and the docile and generous cooperation of the faithful.
We read in the first reading today: “We are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit” (Acts of the Apostles 5:32). The Holy Spirit enlivens the apostolic commitment of Christ's disciples, sustaining them in their trials, enlightening them in their decisions, assuring effectiveness in their proclamation of the Easter mystery.
3. Christ is truly risen! Alleluia! Today too the Church continues to make the same joyful proclamation. “Christ is truly risen!”: these words are like a cry of joy and an invitation to hope. If Christ is risen, St Paul notes, our faith is not in vain. If we have died with Christ, we have risen with him: we must now live as risen people.
Dear brothers and sisters of St Stephen Protomartyr Parish, I greet you all with affection! My presence among you is linked in spirit with the visit that my venerable Predecessor, the Servant of God Paul VI, made to your community on Easter 1966, 32 years ago.
I cordially greet the Cardinal Vicar, the Vicegerent, your zealous parish priest, Mons. Vincenzo Vigorito, and all those who collaborate with him in leading the parish community. I address a special thought to those who are currently involved in the City Mission. I would like to encourage them to continue this missionary effort by proclaiming the Gospel in every way and in every circumstance, testifying that it renews human existence.
Everyone needs this saving Word: to everyone the risen Lord brings it personally. Dear parishioners, share this message of hope with those you meet at home, in school, at the office, in the workplace. Reach out especially to those who are alone, who are suffering and in precarious conditions, the sick and the marginalized. To each and every one of them proclaim: Christ is truly risen!
4. In this way, your community which, like many other Roman parishes, is relatively new but already has a history filled with many social and human problems, will increasingly become a place of solidarity and meeting, of joy and spiritual reinvigoration. This is what your parish has wanted to be since it began in 1953 through the work of the Passionist Fathers. Over the next 20 years the community grew considerably, due to the arrival of many immigrants particularly from the central and southern parts of Italy.
Many people moved to Rome in those years for financial reasons, separating themselves involuntarily from the traditions and values of their own regions. Some of you remember the difficulties of the beginning, with the related human and social problems, when the arches of the aqueduct had become places of shelter for so many immigrant families. To these difficult situations the parish tried to give concrete answers, according to its means, while always showing great courage and pastoral generosity.
Pope Paul VI, shocked at the situation of poverty that he saw here, personally supported various initiatives, including the creation of a public-health centre. Providentially, the Daughters of Christ the King later came to help the inhabitants of Tor Fiscale by establishing a school and day-care centre.
I cannot fail to recall dear Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who opened her first house in Europe here, which has now become the formation community for the Missionaries of Charity.