The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Sunday of the Second Week of Easter is John 20:19-31.

After rising from the dead in the predawn hours of Easter Sunday and appearing to multiple eyewitnesses, Easter evening comes and the Apostles (and perhaps other disciples) are holed up behind locked doors in the Upper Room, afraid of the Jews. Suddenly, Christ mysteriously enters despite the “locked” door. He first gives them His peace, reconciling with all those who abandoned Him on the Cross. Christ shows His wounded hands and side, confirming that His crucified body has been resurrected but glorified with mysterious new powers. Again giving the Apostles His peace, Christ “sends” them to spread the Gospel, as the Father sent the Son. Anticipating the great rush of the wind of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), Christ breathes on the Apostles, ordaining them with the Holy Spirit and giving them the exclusive power to forgive or not to forgive sins.

The Apostle Thomas, for an unknown reason, is absent when Christ appears on Easter Sunday and refuses to believe that Christ has risen unless he personally sees and touches Christ’s wounds. Eight days later on the Second Sunday of Easter, Christ returns, again mysteriously entering despite the locked door. After giving the disciples peace, Christ, with supernatural knowledge of Thomas’ doubt, offers Thomas the chance to touch His wounds. Thomas, now believes and exalts Christ, “My Lord and my God!” Christ rebukes Thomas, promising “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

St. John, aware of oral Tradition and the other writings of the New Testament, clarifies that his Gospel provides a secure, but not comprehensive, basis for men to believe and be saved.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ’s glorified Body is eternal, unbound by time and space, able to more through solid objects. Person of the Trinity, Christ gives the Apostles the gift of the Holy Spirit. Divine Priest, Christ ordains the Apostles and gives them the power to forgive sins, establishing the Sacrament of Confession.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Give thanks that Christ desires for men to have peace and the power to give peace to those willing to believe (John 14:27,16:33, 20:19, 21).

2) After ordaining the Apostles, Christ exclusively gives His new priests the power to forgive or retain the sins of men, establishing the Sacrament of Confession (CCC 553, 730, 976, 1441, 1461). Renewed in Easter, pray for Christ to guide to you regularly confess your sins at least monthly.

3) The Apostolic Catholic Church has perfectly preserved and transmitted Christ’s teachings through Tradition and Scripture. During Easter, give Christ thanks for the Transmission of Divine Revelation (CCC 74-100) only found in fulness in the Catholic Church.

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 Octave of Easter is Mark 16:9-15.

Following Christ’s Passion and burial in the tomb on Good Friday, Christ rises after three days, early on Easter Sunday. When Mary Magdalene and others arrive early in the morning to anoint Christ’s dead body, they find the huge stone that sealed the tomb has been rolled away. They enter the  tomb and a young man dressed in dazzling clothes (an angel) confirms that Christ has risen and the women must alert Peter and the disciples to go to Galilee to meet Christ (as He promised).

On Easter Sunday, Christ makes a number of appearances in or near Jerusalem to confirm to His Resurrection to the disciples. He appears to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9), the other women with Mary (Matt 28:9), to Peter (Luke 24:34), to Cleopas (the brother of St. Joseph; Jesus’ uncle) and another disciple on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-30) and finally to the Apostles (Luke 24:36; John 20:19). Even though not explicitly written in the Gospels, from early days, the Church has believed that Christ first appeared to His Mother, the Blessed Virgin.

On the evening of Easter, Christ mysteriously appears to the Apostles while they are sitting at table in the Upper Room. Christ upbraids (rebukes) the Apostles for their unbelief and hardness of heart, ironically in the very same room in which He gave them the first Eucharist at the Last Supper just three days before; the Apostles (not including John) abandoned Him and failed to fully believe Mary Magdalene’s testimony that He had risen (Mark 16:11). Commanding them, Christ charges the Apostles to preach the Gospel to the whole world and to give the Sacraments (Baptism, a shorthand for all the Sacraments; Mark 16:16) to those who believe; He also confirms that those who believe and receive the Sacraments will be saved (receive eternal life in Heaven).

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ rises from the dead with His glorified Body with the ability to appear and disappear. Divine King, Christ rebukes His men and commands them to spread the Gospel and offer the Sacraments. Divine Mercy, Christ offers consolation to those close to Him by His Easter Sunday appearances.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Marvel at how Christ acts as the Risen King, rebuking the Apostles for their weakness and giving them clear marching orders.

2) Christ’s Resurrection is a historical event; He really was crucified, died and was buried and miraculously rose again and appeared to many. During Easter, reflect on the Gospels’ historical record of Christ’s Appearances (CCC 641-644) and prayerfully imagine the shock, fear, awe and joy of encountering the Risen Christ.

3) Every Catholic man must conform to Christ’s final directions to the Apostles; He confirms that those who have faith and receive the Sacraments will be saved. During Easter, refresh your understanding of the Sacraments (CCC 1113-1134) and pray for Christ to help you hunger and regularly receive the Sacraments.

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 Octave of Easter is John 21:1-14.

Following Christ’s appearance after the Resurrection to the Apostles in Jerusalem to establish that He has indeed risen, the Apostles travel back their homes in Galilee, anticipating that they will meet Christ again as promised (Mark 14:28). Seven disciples (Peter, John, James, Nathaniel, Thomas, two others), perhaps driven by the need to eat, are led by Peter to fish in the Sea of Galilee. Despite being seasoned fishermen, the disciples fish all night but catch no fish.

After a night of failure, Christ comes with the dawn to reveal Himself. As the disciples draw near the shore, Christ, His identity and voice mysteriously disguised, addresses the grown men as “Children”, a strange greeting from a stranger. Knowing the disciples have caught nothing, Christ directs them to cast their net on the other side of the boat. Despite the absurdity of the request, the disciples obey and are immediately given a catch of fish too heavy for seven men to draw in. Suddenly, John understands they have been given a miraculous catch and tells Peter that the stranger is “the Lord.” Peter, trusting John, immediately dresses to be presentable to Christ, dives in the water and swims the 100 yards to the shore. The other disciples follow in the boat, dragging the full nets ashore.

Recalling the feeding of the 5000 by multiplying fish and bread (John 6:1-14) by the Sea of Galilee, Christ feeds the disciples a breakfast with the miraculous catch of fish and with bread. Christ’s glorified risen Body is mysterious; the disciples are hesitant about His identity but are convinced He is the Lord. Similar to the Feeding of the 5000 and the Last Supper, Christ feeds the disciples a miraculous meal.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ mysteriously appears, can disguise His appearance and performs miracles of nature. Divine Priest, Christ establishes and builds on symbolic actions which confirm that He is Lord. Divine King, Christ calls, directs and provides for His men.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1)  Be awed by Christ’s mysterious glorified Body; He has the ability to appear and disappear, to disguise His identity and voice and yet still consumes earthly food.

2) Christ establishes Peter to lead His Church and the disciples follow Peter. During Easter, review Peter’s role as the first pope and the structure of the Church (CCC 880-887) and pray for Christ to guide the current pope.

3)  After failing in the dark, Christ, the light of the world, calls to His “children” to cast their nets again, giving them a miraculous catch.  During Easter, reassert your identity as an adopted son of God (CCC 1, 52, 270, 294, 422, 654, 1709, 2009)  and pray that Christ guide to live out your identity as a Catholic man.

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 Upper Room

The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Thursday of the Octave of Easter is Luke 24:35-48.

Following their mysterious encounter with Christ on the road to Emmaus and the revealing of Himself in the Eucharist, Cleopas (the brother of St. Joseph; Jesus’ uncle) and another disciple rush 7 miles to Jerusalem in the dark of night to tell the Eleven Apostles in the Upper Room. At the mention of the Eucharist, Christ makes a supernatural entrance, suddenly appearing among them despite the closed doors (John 20:19-20).

The “startled and frightened” Apostles think they are seeing a ghost but Christ offers peace and a rebuke, urging them to come to the senses, to look and touch His “flesh and bones”, His wounded “hands and feet.” Further reassuring the Apostles, Christ asks for food and eats a piece of broiled fish. Christ’s body, just hours ago, was severely scourged, dehydrated, starved, beaten and crucified to death; now Christ has a newly glorified body with strange powers to pass through solid walls while still having “flesh and bones.”

After allowing the Apostles time to adjust to His miraculous resurrected presence, Christ turns to catechesis, revealing that Scripture is a source of evidence, moral standards and Christian mission: Christ reconfirms the Law (Moses), the Prophets and the Psalms provide prophetic evidence of His redeeming Passion and Resurrection; He confirms that Scripture remains the standard for moral law and men must repent from sin if they wish to be forgiven; relying on Scripture, Christ confirms the Apostles are witnesses that must preach the Gospel to Jerusalem and to all nations.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ is resurrected with a glorified body that is both human (wounded hands and feet, can eat) and supernatural (can pass through walls). Divine Teacher and Author of Scripture, Christ uses Scripture He has inspired to be written to teach the Apostles. Divine King, Christ forms His men and charges them to evangelize the world.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) On Good Friday, Christ was beaten, deprived of food, water and sleep, scourged, exhausted by carrying a several hundred pound Cross, crucified and stabbed in the heart; if a man today survived such torture, he would be hospitalized for weeks. Marvel that Christ rises three days later with a vibrant, glorified Body.

2) Every man will be resurrected with a glorified Body like Christ’s. During Easter, reflect upon Christ’s Resurrection (CCC 638-658; 988-1019) and pray for Christ to help you “repent and be forgiven of sins” in preparation for eternity.

3) In His first appearance to the Eleven Apostles after the Resurrection, Christ emphasizes the importance of understanding of Scripture. During Easter, renew your commitment to Sacred Scripture (CCC 101-141) and pray for Christ to help you sustain a daily habit of reading and contemplating Scripture, particularly the Gospels.

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 Octave 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 – Saint Joseph

Virtue of the Day – Temperance

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the imprisoned

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To comfort the sorrowful