The first reading’s account of the first Christians in the Acts of the Apostles reminds us that the Resurrection is only the beginning of our Christian story.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
Throughout the Easter Season, our first reading comes from the Acts of the Apostles instead of the Hebrew Scriptures because it tells the story of the first Christian Community—the continuation of the story of the Resurrection. Because, our story doesn’t end with the Resurrection, but only just begins.
Today’s first and second readings show two different expressions of worship of God. First the Apostles are joyful and worship God because they have begun their public ministry and preaching Jesus’ name since the Resurrection. They are being told to be quiet and are upsetting the people in charge, which makes them glad because they know they are doing the right thing. The second reading shows people in heaven who are directly in God’s presence and are overjoyed with the love they God shows them.
In the Gospel, Peter is not really sure how to handle all of the events of Jesus’ death and resurrection, so he goes back to his old job—fishing. Jesus appears on the beach, although Peter doesn’t recognized him, and helps him to make a great catch. He catches 153 varieties of fish, which represents all the people of the earth, reminding Peter that he was meant to be a “fisher of men.”
When Peter recognizes Jesus, they have a very important conversation—Jesus asks him three times if he loves Jesus. This is Peter’s opportunity to make up for the three times he denied him. Jesus knows that Peter cannot be the leader of the Apostles that he needs to be if he’s still feeling guilty about having denied Jesus. Jesus wants Peter to be free and to know that he is loved and forgiven. This will also help Peter to help other people feel forgiven for their sins.
You can read this Sunday’s readings here:
Break Open the Word with Your Family
If you were Peter, do you think you would have gone back to your old job after seeing Jesus risen from the dead? What do you think stopped him from going to share the Gospel?
Sometimes, feeling guilty or feeling like you can’t get past something bad can stop you from living fully—even from doing the regular daily living things that we have to do. Have you ever felt like Peter? Like you might not get past a bad experience? Do you think that having a conversation with Jesus like Peter did would help?
The Apostles were glad in the first reading because they were making trouble. They were glad that they were experiencing persecution in Jesus’ name. Have you ever felt glad for being made fun of or discriminated against for Jesus’ sake? If not, how did it make you feel? Do you think it’s normal to feel happy when someone treats you badly for doing the right thing?
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.”