If you are looking at a particular sermon and it is removed it is because it has been updated.

For example Year C 2010 is being replaced week by week with Year C 2013, and so on.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Third Sunday of Easter Year C 2019

3rd Sunday of Eastertide (C)
(Acts 5:27-32, 40-41; Rev. 5:11-14; John 21:1-19)

These Eastertide appearances gave great joy to the Apostles and disciples of Jesus and so they have continued to rejoice Christian souls throughout the ages even to this very day, when, in our Gospel reading we heard of the Apostles on Lake Tiberias/Galilee, busily fishing all night without success, and then catching sight of the Risen Lord walking on the shore line and guiding them to make a remarkable catch of fish.  Thereupon, He invited them to share with Him a meal He had already prepared:

As soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread,

and Jesus was urging them to:

            Bring some of the fish you have just caught.

You will recall that, at the beginning of His ministry, Jesus had promised His Apostles that He would make them into fishers of men: here, they are being taught the very nature and dignity of that mission and ministry to which He was calling them.

They were to be co-operators with Jesus, as shown by the great catch of fish they -- at His prompting -- had just caught and brought ashore to join the fish Jesus already had cooking for them.  Subsequently, they would indeed bring large numbers of men to Jesus to receive the salvation that only He can give … as signified by the fact that only He had brought bread, not merely in remembrance of the manna given by God to sustain Israel in her desert wanderings, but the true bread from heaven that Jesus’ own Father would give, the only real bread of eternal salvation.   Indeed, their future Apostolic ministry would not only make them chosen co-operators in the world-wide work of Jesus, but such oneness with their Lord would also be for their own supremely personal fulfilment and joy while serving as the crowning testimony to and authorization of their unique witness to Him in His nascent Church:

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.  Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.  And we are His witnesses to these things (Acts 5:30-32); witnesses chosen by God … who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead (Acts 10:41).

Jesus’ food had always been to do His Father’s will, as He Himself said, and now the Apostles of His choosing would learn to follow their Lord by themselves seeking to do the will of Jesus in building up His Church on earth.

In view of what was about to happen here on the shore of Galilee, Jesus had food ready: He had prepared a meal He willed to share with the Apostles to show them that, as His specially chosen disciples -- chosen to co-operate with Him and share His mission -- they would need to share in His strength, and indeed, ultimately, to share in His Spirit in order to able to fulfil the mission He was entrusting to them.

Let us, therefore, have a closer look at how those Apostles actually carried out the mission given them by Jesus; let us see them furthering -- in the power of His Spirit -- His Church towards its world-wide fulfilment.

Notice first of all, People of God, that the Apostolic proclamation was not a message about themselves, saying: "Come and join us; see how much we love Jesus and share the joy we find in serving Him".  Indeed, the Apostolic proclamation was not, first of all, even a message about Jesus' love for us: "Come to Jesus, Jesus loves you!"   The first, the most important, the absolutely essential content of the Apostles' preaching was what God, the Father, had done with, in, and for Jesus:

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus Whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.   Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Saviour.

And why, did the Apostles say, God had done this for Jesus, done this in and through, Jesus? 

To give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

God exalted Jesus ‘to give repentance to Israel’, and then, after such repentance has been acknowledge and embraced, ‘to give forgiveness of sins’.  Consequently, the first aim of the Apostolic proclamation of the Gospel and its ultimate purpose was to proclaim, above all, the glory of God ‘Who raised up Jesus’, while declaring the indisputable fact of human sinfulness shown in all its horror by the crucifixion of the Son of God and Lord of Life; then, by highlighting the forgiveness of sins, to once again take up the paean of praise for the fact that in Jesus we are no longer subject to the power of sin,  we are now FREE to henceforth live, love, and work with Jesus, by His Spirit, for the glory His and our Father and for the salvation and better-being of our and His brethren here on earth; in all things we are called to fight with Him, by His Spirit, against the devil and our former sinfulness, knowing that we can overcome such trials and learn to love and live by the Cross of Life.

We are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.

No matter what violence was threatened or used against them:

The Apostles day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ. 

Such, People of God, was the way the Apostles, under the guidance of the Spirit of Holiness and Truth given them by Jesus, preached the Good News.  That was how Peter, restored and confirmed as the Prince of Apostles, carried out the commission given him when Jesus said:

            Feed My lambs; take care of, feed, My sheep.

Notice too, this time from our second reading, that, in heaven -- as seen by John whilst banished to the isle of Patmos -- the song is the same as the Apostles' proclamation, namely, a song, a celebration, of Jesus as the slain Lamb, raised and glorified by God:

And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honour and glory and power be to Him Who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!"

Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honour and glory and blessing! 

  And why?

For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:9-10)

People of God, notice, LEARN, and take courage.  The Catholic Church proclaims truth, God's truth, to the whole world.  She does not say, "Look at us Catholics: how holy we are, how happy we are.  Come and join us, become holy like us, share in our happiness".  No!  Mother Church has a message for all who are aware of sin in their lives and who long to be freed from their bondage to sin; and to them her message is: "This is what God has done for Jesus and what He wants to do for all who will believe in Him: believe the Gospel,  confess your sins, embrace the new life of baptism, and open -- Oh yes open! -- your mind and heart to the Holy Spirit Whom God is offering to you and all mankind in Jesus.”

Of course, Mother Church can point to many signs that help to confirm her message: her own enduring of hatred and oppression throughout the ages; the holiness of so many of her children's lives; the wonderful way in which her truth understands, answers, transforms and fulfils, our human condition; the miracles which have, throughout the ages, transfigured the envelope of humble creation.

However, since all these are dependent on and secondary to the fundamental message contained in Mother Church’s Apostolic proclamation of the glory of God and the salvation to be found in Jesus through repentance and faith, we, children of Mother Church and disciples of the Risen Lord Jesus, should never, ever, be ashamed or embarrassed, to proclaim the Apostolic, Catholic, truth about Jesus.  Let no one disturb, or frighten you with words such as, "Look at you!"  or, "Who are you to talk?"; for when we proclaim Jesus as Saviour we are acknowledging ourselves as sinners: we should be better, we want to be better, we will seek and strive to be better, but we will never be found among those who proclaim themselves, rather than Jesus.   Jesus came to call sinners, and that is precisely why we hope in Him, because He came to call and to save us and all other sinners.  His message, the proclamation of Mother Church, is not for those who deny the reality of sin for, until they become aware of the sin which is corroding their own lives, society, and indeed the world around us, and until they conceive a fear of the consequences of and punishment awaiting, sin, then they are, and will remain, deaf both to the saving truth proclaimed by Mother Church and the call of Jesus to eternal life.

People of God, join in the heavenly choir; join, in all sincerity, your voice to theirs as they cry with a loud voice:

Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honour and glory and blessing! 

For, by so joining your voice to that of the heavenly throng, the final words of the prophet will be brought closer to their eternal fulfilment:

I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, everything in the universe, cry out: “To the One Who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour, glory and might, forever and ever.”