The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Sunday – Cycle A of the Third Week of Easter is Luke 24:13-35.

Later in the day of Easter Sunday, after Christ has appeared to Mary Magdalene (John 20:14), Cleopas (brother of St. Joseph; Jesus’ uncle) and another disciple are traveling to Emmaus, a small village 7 miles from Jerusalem. The two disciples left Jerusalem sad and confused: they cannot understand how the Messiah could be crucified, where His body went and the meaning of angelic appearances that proclaim that Christ is alive.

Christ mysteriously draws near them as they walk, disguising His identity (and voice). Christ first rebukes them (“O foolish men”) and then systematically reveals how Scripture documents how Moses and the prophets confirm His birth, ministry, Passion and Resurrection into glory. As evening falls and they reach Emmaus, the two disciples beg Christ to stay with them. At table as at the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, Christ blesses and breaks bread and gives the disciples the Eucharist. In the consumption of the Eucharist, Christ allows the disciples to recognize Him and He vanishes before their eyes. Christ transforms the disciples’ sadness to joy and confusion to understanding.

Rushing through the darkness, Cleopas and the other disciple find the Eleven (Judas has hung himself) in the Upper Room where Christ first offered the Eucharist. Rather than dejection and confusion, the Eleven are elated for Christ has confirmed that He has risen by appearing to Peter, an act of Divine Mercy for Peter had denied and abandoned Christ. Cleopas and the other disciple joyfully describe the mysterious encounter with Christ, emphasizing the miraculous revelation of the Eucharist.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ has the mysterious ability after Resurrection of His glorified body to appear, to disguise His appearance and to vanish. Divine Teacher, Christ demonstrates how Scripture accurately prophesizes of His Incarnation. Divine Priest, Christ reveals Himself in a way that establishes the structure of the Mass (Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist), allowing believers to be spiritually united with Him as they consume the Eucharist.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) In His risen glorified body, Christ has the mysterious ability to instantaneously appear and disappear and to disguise His identity. Marvel that Christ’s own uncle, Cleopas (brother of St. Joseph), does not recognize Him.

2) The structure of the Mass comes from Christ Himself: at Emmaus, Christ focuses first on Scripture (Liturgy of the Word), second on the Eucharist (The Liturgy of the Eucharist) and third, on the sending of the disciples to make Him known (“Mass” means to be sent). During the Octave of Easter, reflect on the Mass (CCC 1329, 1346, 1332) and pray for Christ to give you a heart that burns to make Him known.

3) Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, each man faces trials (death of a loved one, illness, financial crisis, rupture in relationships) when faith and hope can be difficult. During the Octave of Easter, reflect upon Grace (CCC 1996-2005) and pray for Christ to give you the grace to persevere in faith and hope.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Blessed Trinity

Virtue of the Day – Charity

Corporal Work of Mercy – To feed the hungry

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To admonish the sinner

The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Saturday of the Second Week of Easter is John 6:16-21.

After Feeding the 5000, the crowd seeks to make Christ their king (John 6:15) but Christ dismisses them, sends the Apostles in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee and goes into the hills to pray.  As with His formation of the Apostles by working through them in Feeding the 5000, Christ continues to form the Apostles through a trial by storm.

The Apostles depart in the darkness of night. A strong wind causes the sea to become violent and the Apostles strain to make progress rowing. Despite being seasoned fishermen, the Apostles are in great distress (literally “tortured”) as they are tossed about by the violent waves (Matt 14:24).

When they had rowed 3-4 miles, they see Christ walking on the sea, despite the complete darkness of the stormy night. Forgetting Christ’s earlier calming of the storm (Matt 8:23-27), the Apostles scream out in fear when they see Christ, believing Him to be ghost (Matt 14:26); Christ, in a preview of the Transfiguration, is supernaturally illuminated, visible among the dark violent waves. Christ’s rebuke is mysteriously heard over the howl of the wind: “It is I, do not be afraid.” The Apostles’ fear and desperation becomes gladness as Christ gets into the boat. Mysteriously, as soon as Christ gets in the boat, it immediately reaches shore.

Awed by Jesus ChristDivine King, Christ purposefully allows the disciples to experience a harrowing trial to strengthen their faith. Son of God, Christ has the knowledge and power to be seen in the dark, to miraculously walk on violent waves and to mysteriously transport the boat to shore.  Son of Man, Christ exhibits incredible stamina and strength, requiring little/sleep and exhibiting supernatural physical strength.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Because the account of Christ walking on water is familiar, it can lose its impact. Reflect on this astounding demonstration of Christ’s divinity.

2) By calling out “I AM”, Christ echoes God’s revelation to Moses in the burning bush (Ex 3:14) and confirm’s His divinity. During Easter, reflect on stupendous blessing of God’s gift of His Son (CCC 65-66) and pray for Christ to help you to know Him.

3) While fear is an important gift from God to help men survive, like all passions, fear can be used to grow in virtue (spurs heroic action) or decay into vice (cowardice, despair). Review the Catechism’s teaching on the Passions (CCC 1762-1774) and pray for Christ to send the Holy Spirit to help you grow in virtue through the passions and avoid vice.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Blessed Virgin Mary

Virtue of the Day – Hope

Corporal Work of Mercy – To bury the dead

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To pray for the living and the dead

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