In the readings for this Sunday, April 15, Jesus offers more proof of his Resurrection, and the Apostles begin their public witness.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
The readings for this Sunday, April 15, we join Peter in the part of the Acts of the Apostles after the Apostles had received the Holy Spirit. It’s important to note that we’re not reading the Scriptures in the order that we celebrate their events–we’ve seen in the Scriptures the Apostles in action for two weeks already after they had received the Holy Spirit, but in our liturgy, we don’t celebrate the reception of the Holy Spirit until Pentecost. The Church is trying to show us who we should be as Easter People, and people who have already received the Holy Spirit. Today’s readings are a reminder that when we have truly experienced the Holy Spirit, we can become effective witnesses of it. The Apostles went from being afraid to leave the Upper Room, to going out and boldly professing their belief in the risen Jesus. They’re on their way to following Jesus, just as he told them–even to the point that they will all eventually be martyred. Interesting note: the word “martyr” literally means “witness”.
Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
Lord, let your face shine on us.
1 John 2:1-5A
Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments are liars, and the truth is not in them.
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day…You are witnesses of these things.”
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
Today’s account of Jesus’ appearance to the Apostles and friends is a little different than last week’s version from John. This time, instead of just Thomas needing to see Jesus’ wounds, everyone is offered to look at them for proof that it is, in fact, Jesus. Jesus offers further proof that he’s not a ghost by eating some fish—ghosts can’t eat. This event takes place after the women have seen Jesus, Peter has seen Jesus, and the two disciples on the way to Emmaus have seen him. Now, Jesus is able to talk to them about the fulfillment of the Scriptures—just as he had been all along—but this time they can understand it. Like so many of our own situations in life, we can’t truly understand them until we emerge from the other side of it.
Peter, in the first reading, continues to tell his fellow Jews about Jesus. Now he can preach with understanding and authority because now he understands what he Resurrection means. He can break open their understanding of God’s promises to the Jewish people because he’s come out the other side—he’s a witness to the Resurrection and had the Scriptures broken open for him by Jesus.
John gives us a quick little reminder that if we claim to know Jesus, we will follow his commandments. It’s up to us to try and not sin. But, John reminds us, if we do, all is not lost. We have Jesus to wipe those sins out and let us start over. God is a God of second chances…and third chances…and fourth chances…And God is willing to show us his wounds, eat fish in front of us, and continue to offer us proofs of his love in the moments that we need them.
Do you have an experience of being forgiven by God? How has that experience deepened your relationship with him?
What do you think you would do if Jesus showed up in your room to chat with you like he did with the Apostles? They were scared. Do you think you would be? The Apostles gave him fish. What would you give him to eat?
Do you find that you’re more able to explain things when you have first-hand experience of them? What first-hand experience of Jesus do you have? How do you share it with others?
What does being a “witness” to the risen Jesus mean to you? How do you live that out in your daily life? Pope Francis talks about our witnessing necessarily being associated with joy. Does your witness include expressing your joy to others?
Bonus Question for all three groups:
Discuss what it would be like if Jesus showed up in your house like he did with the Apostles. What would your conversation be like?
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”