Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter

Reading I Acts 5:17-26

The high priest rose up and all his companions,
that is, the party of the Sadducees,
and, filled with jealousy,
laid hands upon the Apostles and put them in the public jail.
But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison,
led them out, and said,
“Go and take your place in the temple area,
and tell the people everything about this life.”
When they heard this,
they went to the temple early in the morning and taught.
When the high priest and his companions arrived,
they convened the Sanhedrin,
the full senate of the children of Israel,
and sent to the jail to have them brought in.
But the court officers who went did not find them in the prison,
so they came back and reported,
“We found the jail securely locked
and the guards stationed outside the doors,
but when we opened them, we found no one inside.”
When the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard this report, 
they were at a loss about them,
as to what this would come to.
Then someone came in and reported to them,
“The men whom you put in prison are in the temple area
and are teaching the people.” 
Then the captain and the court officers went and brought them,
but without force,
because they were afraid of being stoned by the people.

Responsorial Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R.    (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
    his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
    the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Glorify the LORD with me,
    let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
    and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
    and from all his distress he saved him.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The angel of the LORD encamps
    around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
    blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 3:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God so love the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 3:16-21

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Human or Spiritual?

I really enjoy Eastertime. It is really brought to life when we read the Acts of the Apostles every day! It also brings to life what they did and what we should be doing. A couple of verses before today’s readings in Acts people would bring their sick and lay them in the street hoping that at least Peter’s shadow would fall upon them and they would be healed (and they were). Folks, is that great or what? 

It is no wonder then that the Sadducees  became jealous of those involved and threw them in prison. We know that the Lord had a different plan for them. That day, an Angel let them out. They went to the temple and did exactly what they were told to do, preach the Good News. 

Have you or I ever failed to do what God has asked us to do? For me, I would have to say yes. There are two ways to solve a problem like this: humanly or spiritually. We are confronted every day with a myriad of problems, some big and some small. But we need to make decisions on every one of them. I am reminded of a time a few years ago. A coworker came into my office and was perplexed as to what color to paint his house. He and his wife had gone through many color chips and just couldn’t agree on a color. I asked him if he had prayed about it. “What?!” he said. “God doesn’t give a rip about what color my house is!” “Not true”, I said. “He does care. He cares about everything.” He replied with something like, “Whatever!” then threw his hands up in the air and walked out. I never did hear how that turned out. 

I entered the business world knowing nothing about the business world. It was very stressful to say the least. Little by little I learned that saying a short prayer before jumping in on something really made a difference. 

We have hundreds of thoughts going through our minds every day. We have plenty of opportunities to ask the Lord what would be most pleasing to him. Let us remember the apostles. The world told them to stop…and God told them to go! You may say, well, they had an Angel to help them! So do you. Your Guardian Angel. Put him to work! He will help you to do the right thing. 

Serving with joy! 

Contact the author

Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They are the parents of eight children and twenty-nine grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

Featured Image Credit: Ralph, Skirr, https://unsplash.com/photos/5WWkAYZgw7U

Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter

Reading I Acts 4:32-37

The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common.
With great power the Apostles bore witness
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great favor was accorded them all.
There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the Apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.

Thus Joseph, also named by the Apostles Barnabas
(which is translated son of encouragement”),
a Levite, a Cypriot by birth,
sold a piece of property that he owned,
then brought the money and put it at the feet of the Apostles.

Responsorial Psalm 93:1ab, 1cd-2, 5

R.    (1a)  The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
    robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R.    The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
And he has made the world firm,
    not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
    from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R.    The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed:
    holiness befits your house,
    O LORD, for length of days.
R.    The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 3:14-15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Son of Man must be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him
may have eternal life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 3:7b-15

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“‘You must be born from above.’
The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes;
so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus answered and said to him,
‘How can this happen?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this?
Amen, amen, I say to you,
we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen,
but you people do not accept our testimony.
If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe,
how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?
No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Change In Community

Imagine a parish where you walk in and are greeted at the door by a smiling face who welcomes you and directs you to a seat that is reserved just for you. Imagine that those around you aren’t interested in your political ideals or viewpoints on hot topic issues, but they are just grateful to meet you and welcome you into God’s house. Keep imagining, if you will, a place where everyone can freely worship God the way that fits their spirituality, without being mocked or scorned, but they can just be with Jesus in the way they most prefer. Imagine a place where the full truth is preached with conviction, despite what the consequences may be. Imagine someone who is willing to walk through the mess of your life and not judge you or condemn you, but also not leave you in the filth of your sin, but help guide you to the truth.

Sound like a place you have ever been? The reality is that what I just described should be what every Christian church looks like. The question is, do they? Let’s read through the First Reading today and really reflect on it in light of the questions I just asked.

“The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the Apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need. Thus Joseph, also named by the Apostles Barnabas (which is translated ‘son of encouragement’), a Levite, a Cypriot by birth, sold a piece of property that he owned, then brought the money and put it at the feet of the Apostles.” -Acts 4:32-37

So what can we say about this reading? As I read through it what stood out was how this is what Jesus wants us to look like as Christian communities. This is what he wants your church to look like. So the simple question is, what can we do to make it more like this? Are we giving of our time, talent, and treasure to help those around us? Are we trying to sow unity while also standing firm with the truth. Are we like Jesus who gave the fullness of mercy to the woman caught in adultery and then promptly said to sin no more? Let’s make a commitment today to be the change. Preaching the Gospel through our actions with the people God has given us. From all of us here at Rodzinka Ministry, God bless!

Contact the author

Tommy Shultz is the Founder/Director of Rodzinka Ministry and the Director of Faith Formation for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative. In these roles, he is committed to bringing all those he meets into a deeper relationship with Christ. Tommy has a heart and flair for inspiring people to live their faith every day. He has worked in various youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. He has been a featured speaker at retreats and events across the country. With a degree in Theology from Franciscan University, Tommy hopes to use his knowledge to help all people understand the beauty of The Faith. Contact Tommy at tommy@rodzinkaministry.com or check out his website at rodzinkaministry.com.

Feature Image Credit: Cathopic, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/5323-luz-iglesia

Monday of the Second Week of Easter

Reading I Acts 4:23-31

After their release Peter and John went back to their own people
and reported what the chief priests and elders had told them.
And when they heard it,
they raised their voices to God with one accord
and said, “Sovereign Lord, maker of heaven and earth
and the sea and all that is in them,
you said by the Holy Spirit
through the mouth of our father David, your servant:

    Why did the Gentiles rage
        and the peoples entertain folly?
    The kings of the earth took their stand
        and the princes gathered together
        against the Lord and against his anointed.

Indeed they gathered in this city
against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed,
Herod and Pontius Pilate,
together with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,
to do what your hand and your will
had long ago planned to take place.
And now, Lord, take note of their threats,
and enable your servants to speak your word
with all boldness, as you stretch forth your hand to heal,
and signs and wonders are done
through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook,
and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Responsorial Psalm 2:1-3, 4-7a, 7b-9

R.    (see 11d)  Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples utter folly?
The kings of the earth rise up,
    and the princes conspire together
    against the LORD and against his anointed:
“Let us break their fetters
    and cast their bonds from us!”
R.    Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
He who is throned in heaven laughs;
    the LORD derides them.
Then in anger he speaks to them;
    he terrifies them in his wrath:
“I myself have set up my king
    on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD.
R.    Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
    this day I have begotten you.
Ask of me and I will give you
    the nations for an inheritance
    and the ends of the earth for your possession.
You shall rule them with an iron rod;
    you shall shatter them like an earthen dish.”
R.    Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
 

Alleluia Col 3:1

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If then you were raised with Christ,
seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 3:1-8

There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
He came to Jesus at night and said to him,
“Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God,
for no one can do these signs that you are doing
unless God is with him.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” 
Nicodemus said to him,
“How can a man once grown old be born again?
Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?”
Jesus answered,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless one is born of water and Spirit
he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
What is born of flesh is flesh
and what is born of spirit is spirit.
Do not be amazed that I told you,
‘You must be born from above.’
The wind blows where it wills,
and you can hear the sound it makes,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes;
so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Death to Life

“Every baptized person should consider that it is in the womb of the Church where he is transformed from a child of Adam to a child of God.”– St. Vincent Ferrer – 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells Nicodemus that “unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God” and, after Nicodemus expresses his confusion, Jesus continues by saying that “unless one is born of water and Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God”.  Jesus is talking about the importance of Baptism. In order to enter the Kingdom of God, we must first die to ourselves and be reborn in the Holy Spirit. This rebirth is not solely our Baptism that only happens once, but it should be a continual renewal of our Baptismal promises. We ought to be rejecting Satan, and all his works, and his empty promises every day of our lives. We should be confessing our faith in God and His mercy – in word and action – every day of our lives. This is what we celebrate during the Easter season. The Risen Lord is always in our midst and our lives should be a reflection of His presence. 

Being born in the Spirit, being baptized in the Christian faith demands a life radically lived. Our faith does not call us to complacency, it does not call us to mediocrity. Rather, it calls us to participate in the radical love the Father has for us. We are made to be part of a love so great that the Father sent His only Son to die for us so that we may be united eternally with Him in His Heavenly Kingdom. It is for that reason that we are to continue to rejoice in the Easter miracle that is the Resurrection of our Savior, Christ Jesus. It is only through His Passion, Death, and Resurrection that we are able to be born again into His love. 

As we continue through this Easter season, may we commit ourselves to continual renewal in the Holy Spirit. May we be willing to die to ourselves in order to be reborn in the Father’s love for us.

Contact the author

Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.

Feature Image Credit: Luis Ca, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/7607-bautismo-senor

Second Sunday of Easter

Reading I Acts 4:32-35

The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common.
With great power the apostles bore witness
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great favor was accorded them all.
There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.

Responsorial Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24

R.  (1) Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:
R.  Alleluia.
Let the house of Israel say,
    “His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
    “His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say,
    “His mercy endures forever.”
R.  Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:
R.  Alleluia.
I was hard pressed and was falling,
    but the LORD helped me.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
    and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
    in the tents of the just:
R.  Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:
R.  Alleluia.
The stone which the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
    it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
    let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R.  Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:
R.  Alleluia.

Reading II 1 Jn 5:1-6

Beloved:
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God,
and everyone who loves the Father
loves also the one begotten by him.
In this way we know that we love the children of God
when we love God and obey his commandments.
For the love of God is this,
that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome,
for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.
And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.
Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ,
not by water alone, but by water and blood.
The Spirit is the one that testifies,
and the Spirit is truth.

Alleluia Jn 20:29

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord;
Blessed are those who have not seen me, but still believe!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 20:19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked, 
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Divine Mercy

In today’s First Reading in Acts, it is noted that following Jesus’ resurrection, the Church was one. This was what God had always intended. One heart, one mind, one body, one soul.

The common theme reflected in Psalm 118 is  “His mercy endures forever.” God’s love is everlasting. In the Divine Mercy Chaplet we pray, “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world”.

Jesus came for sinners. To have compassion on us and forgive us. To save souls. Our strength and our courage is the LORD, our Savior! Give thanks!

May the Holy Spirit fill each of us with the joy of the Easter message.

Let us live boldly, as the Apostles did following Christ’s resurrection, recognizing that we are indeed saved.

Let us be steadfast to the Lord, keeping his Commandments through the trials and tribulations we face.

Let us be in peace with one another, just as Jesus reconciled with us, appearing to the Apostles, “Peace be with you.”

Let us pray that our love increases for Christ as well as each other every day. 

As reflected through the message of the Divine Mercy, Jesus, I trust in You.

Contact the author

Dr. Alexis Dallara-Marsh is a board-certified neurologist who practices in Bergen County, NJ. She is a wife to her best friend, Akeem, and a mother of two little ones on Earth and two others in heaven above.

Feature Image Credit: Juan Diego Camarillo, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/22408-divina-misericordia

Saturday in the Octave of Easter

Reading I Acts 4:13-21

Observing the boldness of Peter and John
and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men,
the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed,
and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus.
Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them,
they could say nothing in reply.
So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin,
and conferred with one another, saying,
“What are we to do with these men?
Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign
was done through them, and we cannot deny it.
But so that it may not be spread any further among the people,
let us give them a stern warning
never again to speak to anyone in this name.”

So they called them back
and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Peter and John, however, said to them in reply,
“Whether it is right in the sight of God
for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges.
It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”
After threatening them further,
they released them,
finding no way to punish them,
on account of the people who were all praising God
for what had happened.

Responsorial Psalm 118:1 and 14-15ab, 16-18, 19-21

R.    (21a) I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
    for his mercy endures forever.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
    and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
    in the tents of the just.
R.    I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
“The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
    the right hand of the LORD has struck with power.”
I shall not die, but live,
    and declare the works of the LORD.
Though the LORD has indeed chastised me,
    yet he has not delivered me to death.
R.    I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Open to me the gates of justice;
    I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD;
    the just shall enter it.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
    and have been my savior.
R.    I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
 

Alleluia Ps 118:24

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 16:9-15

When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week,
he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,
out of whom he had driven seven demons.
She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping.
When they heard that he was alive
and had been seen by her, they did not believe.

After this he appeared in another form
to two of them walking along on their way to the country.
They returned and told the others;
but they did not believe them either.

But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them
and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart
because they had not believed those
who saw him after he had been raised.
He said to them, “Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

The Eighth Day?

Alleluia! It’s still Easter!

Every year, I marvel at the reality that we prepare for Easter with 40 days of penitence, and then celebrate the magnificence of Christ’s Resurrection for 50 days! And every day of the Octave of Easter (from Easter through Divine Mercy Sunday) is like Easter Sunday, liturgically speaking. It is one long day of rejoicing, encompassing the “first day of the week” (the day of Christ’s resurrection from the dead) and the “eighth day” of the week (the following Sunday). This “eighth day” after the Sabbath is the new “first day”, the symbol of the new creation the Resurrection has set in motion.

The eighth day as a day signaling sanctity and freedom can be seen repeatedly in the Old Testament, particularly the Book of Leviticus. On this day, children were circumcised, becoming purified and receiving the seal of the covenant (Lev 12:2-3). Even animals were ceremonially unclean before their eighth day, and could not be sacrificed before then (Lev 22:27)!  All people who were unclean for any reason remained so until the eighth day, when they were accounted clean (Lev 14:8-10; 15:13-14). Even the vessels for ministry and the priests went through seven days of purification, and were “clean” on the eighth day.

Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus rose on “the first day of the week,” which is the same as the “eighth day.” The Jewish people hold Saturday, the seventh day, as a day of rest and worship, as God rested on the seventh day of creation. But Christians acknowledge that Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary fulfilled every Levitical oblation and sacrifice, and the resurrection on the “eighth day” points to the NEW creation and the final fulfillment of all creation.  In the early Church, the baptismal font was often octagonal, to symbolize the truth that it is through this font that the baptized become a new creation in Christ!

Tomorrow is Divine Mercy Sunday, when we see Jesus putting Thomas’ doubts to rest on the eighth day by revealing his glorious wounds, through which he poured out mercy on the world. It is through these wounds that Jesus gave us the incredible gift of forgiveness and proved that Love overcomes every sin and shortcoming. On this “eighth day” of Easter, we glimpse the whole point of creation and hear anew the call to fulfillment of all creation: the final victory over every uncleanness and sinfulness, and our final, glorious rest at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, celebrating the definitive conquering of death on the mystical eighth day of creation in eternity.

Contact the author

Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including newly ordained Father Rob and seminarian Luke ;-), and two grandchildren. She is a Secular Discalced Carmelite and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 25 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE. Currently, she serves the Church as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio, by publishing and speaking, and by collaborating with the diocesan Office of Catechesis, various parishes, and other ministries to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is https://www.kathryntherese.com/.

Feature Image Credit: geralt, https://pixabay.com/photos/clouds-landscape-beyond-sky-rays-2709662/

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