The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Friday of the Second Week of Easter is John 6:1-15.

Christ withdraws by boat across the Sea of Galilee to a deserted place to mourn John the Baptist’s murder (Matt 14:1-12) and He is followed by a large crowd on foot. Though He desires to be with the Father in solitude, Christ is moved by the large crowd who have walked long distances to be near Him. Christ’s history-changing action by Feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle of Christ’s earthly ministry recorded in all four Gospels; when women and children are included, the count of those fed is much higher.

While the miracle of feeding thousands of people astounds, Christ’s action is much greater than simple feeding. Christ is testing and forming the Apostles, revealing their own inadequacy and preparing them to be leaders of Church. Revealing Himself as the Divine Priest, Christ previews the institution of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday when He blesses and distributes bread to the 5000.

Responding to Christ’s test (“How are we to buy bread…”), Philip or Andrew do not look to Christ to provide, but focus on lack of money and food. Christ draws the 12 Apostles to Himself and takes charge. After instructing for the Apostles to seat the crowd, Christ gives thanks for the bread (a prefigurement of the Eucharist) and directs the Apostles to distribute the bread and fish, allowing them to mediate His Grace to mankind as they distribute the bread to the multitude. Christ seers the miracle into the minds of the 12 Apostles when He requires each of them to each fill a basket with the leftovers. Christ rejects the grateful crowd’s attempt to make Him a political king.

Awed by Jesus ChristDivine Mercy, Christ relieves the hunger of the multitude.  Divine King and the Greatest Leader, Christ forms His apostles through participation in the miracle.  Son of Man, Christ feels emotions deeply, particularly compassion for the suffering. Divine Priest, Christ’s replays the feeding of Israel with manna, previews the Eucharist and initiates the Apostles into priesthood.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Over thousands of years of Salvation History, God deliberately prepares mankind to receive the Eucharist; providing manna during the Exodus, putting in place the sacrificial system with the “show bread” in the Temple, the Feeding of the 5000, the Last Supper and Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection. Be awed.

2) As Christ tests even His Apostles, so too does Christ allow every man to be tested. During Easter, renew your understanding of how men are tested (CCC 2847, 901, 1820, 1808) and pray for Christ to fortify you in the great pilgrimage of Catholic manhood.

3) When Christ tests the Apostles at the Feeding of the 5000, they fail to look to Christ to provide. During Easter, reflect on the importance of Trusting in God (CCC 215, 304, 2086, 2828, 2861) and pray for Christ to give you the grace to completely trust Him in all things.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ

Virtue of the Day – Faith

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the sick

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To forgive all injuries

The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Thursday of the Second Week of Easter is John 3:16-21.

Following Christ’s powerful actions in Jerusalem during the first Passover of His public ministry, Christ and the disciples return (Christ had previously been baptized by John the Baptist) to the area where John the Baptist continues to baptize. The Baptist’s disciples are concerned because all the people are abandoning John and are now turning to Christ to be baptized by the disciples (John 4:2).

The Baptist comforts his disciples by revealing that Christ is from Heaven, joyfully exclaiming, Christ “must increase, but I must decrease.” He reiterates that Christ is “from above [and] is above all.” In contrast, despite his own miraculous birth to the barren Elizabeth and elderly Zechariah, John confirms the infinite difference between Christ and himself; Christ is “above all”, John is “of the earth” and can only speak of the “earth.”

Recognizing that Christ is from Heaven, John confirms Christ speaks about what He has seen from the Father. Despite the fact that some men (perhaps the leaders in Jerusalem) are not yet accepting Christ, John, without reservation, endorses (“sets his seal to this”) Christ’s revelation as “true.” In a revelation of the Trinity, John discloses that Christ not only speaks the “words” of the Father, but Christ gives the Spirit without holding back. The Father loves the Son and has given Him all dominion. John reiterates Christ’s words about salvation and condemnation (John 3:16-21): those who believe in the Son will have eternal life and those who refuse to obey Christ will face eternal death with the wrath of God falling upon them.

Awed by Jesus ChristPerson of the Trinity, Christ is one with the Father and the Spirit. Son of God, the Father has given all dominion to the Son, including the power to give the Spirit. Divine Judge, Christ must be believed in for salvation; men who don’t believe will experience the wrath of God.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Men have a hard time fully conceiving the power of earthly things (tsunami, earthquakes, nuclear bombs). Be awed that the Father has given the Son absolute power over existence.

2) John the Baptist, the man God miraculously conceives by his elderly parents to “prepare the way” for Christ, says the man who “does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.” Meditate on these frightful words with holy fear and pray for Christ to help you turn from sin and obey Him.

3) To make progress in the battle with Sin, God has given men the astounding gift of the Holy Spirit. During Easter, consider God’s gift of the Holy Spirit (CCC 733-736) and pray for Christ to help you more fully accept the gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord; CCC 1830-1832).

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Luminous Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Holy Eucharist

Virtue of the Day – Fortitude

Corporal Work of Mercy – To shelter the homeless

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To bear wrongs patiently

The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter is John 3:16-21.

After approaching Christ in the dark of the night, Nicodemus, a member of the ruling Jewish council (Sanhedrin), is emphatically told by Christ that men must be born from “on high” with a baptism by the Holy Spirit and that He is the Son of Man from Heaven who will be crucified. Christ  rebuked Nicodemus for his lack of understanding, but with great mercy begins to reveal His true identity and mission. Christ confirms the stark choice each man must make to seek salvation or condemnation.

Christ offers uplifting revelation for all men. God exists. God is the Father who has an only Son.  Out of love, the Father has sent the Son in to the world for the salvation of men. The Son is the light to who draws good men who believe in Him and do good deeds (the “true”).  Men’s good deeds are not the result of men’s goodness, but because God works through who believe in Him. Each man who believes and does good works through God is a testimony (“may be clearly seen”) that gives glory to God and secures their salvation.

But Christ also gives men a deadly warning. Men who refuse to believe in in Christ, the only Son of God, are condemned. Evil men who hate God, run from Christ the Light of the World for He exposes their evil; evil men love their evil and seek to hide under the cover of darkness.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ confirms the reality of God the Father and that He is the only Son of God. Divine Mercy, Christ reveals the great love the Father has for men. The Divine Word is the Light of the World.  Son of Man, Christ reveals that He is the “light” to whom men who believe are drawn and evil men avoid. Divine Judge, Christ reveals all men’s deeds are known, that believing men are saved and evil men are condemned.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Meditate upon Christ’s strong assurance of God’s Truth and Love (see CCC 214-231) and be strengthened in God’s Divine Mercy for you.

2) Christ confirms the truth about the Judgment, salvation and condemnation and that each man has a choice. During Easter, renew your understanding of Article 7 of the Creed, “He will come again to judge…” (CCC 668-682) and pray for Christ’s help to prepare for your own unavoidable judgment.

3) Men look at porn in the “dark”, hidden from the Light of Christ and so that others do not discover their sin (wives, girlfriends, children, co-workers); pornography is a grave sin against chastity (CCC 2354). During Easter, recommit to battle the temptation to view pornography and pray for the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse, to pray for you.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Daily Devotion – Saint Joseph

Virtue of the Day – Temperance

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the imprisoned

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To comfort the sorrowful

The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter is John 3:17b-15.

Nicodemus, a member of the ruling Jewish council (Sanhedrin) is impressed by Christ but has not yet been graced to know He is the Son of God. Curious, Nicodemus approaches Christ in the darkness of night, fearing the other members of the Sanhedrin who hate Christ and will eventually conspire to kill Him. Christ has emphatically told a confused Nicodemus about the need to be born “from above” through the Spirit in baptism (John 3:1-8).

Because Nicodemus does not accept Christ as God, he does not accept Christ’s revelation and remains confused. Christ rebukes him sharply, lamenting that Nicodemus is a teacher in Israel but does not grasp that men must seek Grace of God in an outpouring of the Spirit to  convert their hearts to God; this teaching is previously revealed by well-known passages from the Prophet Ezekiel (Ezek 36:25-27) but Nicodemus doesn’t yet understand.

Christ now discloses both His Divinity and the eternal salvation that will come from His Passion to those who believe in Him. Stunningly, Christ, speaking as a Person of the Trinity (“we speak”), asserts that He can speak of Heavenly things for He has descended from Heaven and that those who believe in Him will have eternal life for He is the long-expected Son of Man (the Messiah). Referring to Moses’ lifting up of the serpent in the wilderness to save faithless Israel (Num 21:4-9), Christ mysteriously refers to His coming Passion when He will be lifted up on the Cross to save those who believe.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ has eternal divine experience which is often difficult for even the learned to understand. Son of Man, Christ is the long-awaited Messiah who descends from Heaven. Divine Teacher, Christ has perfect knowledge of each man’s understanding and guides each man to fully grasp of the mysteries of faith.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Imagine meeting man today who asserts that He is from Heaven and can give you eternal life if you believe. Be astounded (“thunderstruck”) at Christ’s revelation and promise.

2) Because Nicodemus lacks the obedience of faith, he resists Christ’s teaching and remains ignorant. During Easter, return again to the Obedience of Faith (CCC 144-149) and ask our Blessed Mother to pray for you to learn from her perfect obedience to God.

3) Nicodemus draws near to Christ as a “rabbi” to grow in faith; Christ is the heart of all catechesis (CCC 426-429). During Easter, renew your commitment to learn about Christ (through the study of Scripture and the Magisterium) and to know Christ (through a daily life of prayer).

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Souls in Purgatory

Virtue of the Day – Prudence

Corporal Work of Mercy – To give drink to the thirsty

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To instruct the ignorant

The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Monday of the Second Week of Easter is John 3:1-8.

After turning a huge amount of water into wine at the Wedding at Cana, in the first Passover in Jerusalem of His public ministry, Christ violently clears the massive Temple area of its shameful desecration of money-changers and merchants. Christ’s clearing of the Temple and other miraculous acts impress Nicodemus, a member of the ruling Jewish council (Sanhedrin). Nicodemus, afraid of being persecuted by the others on the Sanhedrin (who already hate Christ), stealthily approaches Christ at night; Nicodemus is spiritually in the dark not realizing that of Christ is the Light of the World. Later, Nicodemus will attempt to defend Christ against the murderous schemes of the Sanhedrin (John 7:30) and assist in Christ’s burial (John 19:39).

Not realizing Christ is the Son of God, Nicodemus takes the first steps of faith by acknowledging that Christ is a holy man who does wonderous “signs.” Christ mysteriously and emphatically responds (“Truly, truly..”), revealing that men must be “born anew” (more accurately,  “from above”) to see “the Kingdom of God.” Nicodemus, demonstrating his ignorance, takes Christ literally, absurdly thinking Christ is speaking about a second physical birth.

In a rebuke to Nicodemus, Christ is again emphatic (“Truly, truly”), but seeks to help Nicodemus by adding men must be “born of water and spirit”; “water” is a reference to Baptism (after this, Christ will go directly to the Jordan to endorse baptism) and “Spirit” refers to the Holy Spirit (which Christ earlier referred to as “born from above”). Christ explains in simple terms; what is born of the “flesh” (worldly) is different than what is born of the “Spirit” (from Heaven). Since Nicodemus is still bewildered, Christ explains by showing that men don’t understand the source of the wind (can also be translated as “Spirit”) and yet they accept the reality (hear) of the wind; so too is the Spirit a reality that allows men to be reborn.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ has eternal divine experience which is often difficult for even the learned to understand. Divine Teacher, Christ has perfect knowledge of each man’s understanding and guides each man to fully grasp of the mysteries of faith.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Though Christ is “true Man”, He is also “true God” and often speaks and acts in mysterious ways. Reflect upon Christ’s Divine Nature, marveling at how Christ teaches Infinite Wisdom in ways lowly men can grasp.

2) Like Nicodemus’ absurd literalism (how can a man enter his mother’s womb), some men attempt to read Scripture only literally. During Easter, renew your understanding of how the Church engages Scripture (CCC 109-119) and pray for Christ to lead you to deeper understanding.

3) Satan wins when men forget to call in the Holy Spirit to help them in times of temptation. During Easter, return to the truth that in your Baptism and Confirmation, you have been given the Holy Spirit (CCC 694, 1215, 1226, 1238, 1262-1274, 1302-1305); pray for Christ to help you recognize and accept the Holy Spirit in the daily Spiritual Combat.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Souls in Purgatory

Virtue of the Day – Prudence

Corporal Work of Mercy – To give drink to the thirsty

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To instruct the ignorant