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Easter 3rd Week, Saturday, May 2

Acts 9:31-42 / John 6:60-69 
Many people leave Jesus: Peter stayed with Jesus.

A popular poster shows a loaf of bread and a goblet of wine. On the poster are the words, “Jesus of Nazareth requests the honor of your presence at a dinner to be given in his honor.” The poster underscores two important points. First, the Mass is a meal to which Jesus invites us personally: “Do this in memory of me.”
Second, the Mass leaves us free to accept Jesus’ invitation or to reject it, just as the disciples in today’s gospel were free to do. As in gospel times, many people today have chosen to reject Jesus’ invitation.
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Why have we accepted Jesus’ invitation? “You do not go to the Eucharist to serve God; you go to learn how God breaks bread, so that you can go and do it in the same way, because God is known in the breaking of the bread.” Louis Evely
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The period of peace and security can also be a rather risky time. Because we can take the peace and security for granted and become complacent and lose our alertness. Furthermore, with the absence of challenges and dangers, life becomes mundane and monotonous, and we slowly corrode and erode and lose the sharpness for life.

In the 1st reading, we hear the churches throughout Judaea, Galilee and Samaria were left in peace. Yet, that is not all in that statement; it continues by saying that they were building themselves up and living in the fear of the Lord and filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Those were the trademarks of the early Church - building up the community and fortifying it; living in the fear of the Lord and yet with full faith in Him; and trusting in the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And Peter showed forth the power of the name of Jesus in healing a paralytic and raising the dead.

In short, the early Church was proclaiming the Good News, which also means that it is the message of life and the message for life. It was the same Peter who in the gospel proclaimed that Jesus has the message of eternal life and they believed in Him as the Holy One of God.

As Church, we must be proclaiming Jesus and His message of eternal life. Yet, like Peter who healed the paralytic and raised the dead, may we too rise and keep walking towards Christ.

It is in proclaiming the powerful name of Jesus that we too will find life and also eternal life.
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Saturday of 3rd Week of Easter - LITURGY

LORD, TO WHOM SHALL WE GO TO? 

Introduction
Once there was peace, the Church of the Risen Lord continued to grow throughout the Holy Land. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Peter continues the mission of Jesus: he speaks, he heals, he raises to life. In the Gospel, many disciples are disappointed with Jesus. They had expected another kind of Messiah, one who led his disciples, not one who served them and would give them his flesh to eat; how could he do that anyway? Many people, including a good number of disciples, turned away from Jesus. Those who stay are perhaps not too sure what to think and do. So, Jesus confronts the apostles, “What about you?” Peter answers: “Lord, to whom shall we go to?” Yes, to whom shall we go?

Penitential Rite
-I am your servant, the son of your handmaid; you have loosed my bonds.  LHM
-My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all his people. CHM
-To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. LHM

Opening Prayer 
Faithful God of the covenant, in the daily choices we have to make, give us the courage to opt always for your Son and his ways and to remain close to him. Bless the difficult road we sometimes have to take without seeing where it will lead us. Keep us from making half-hearted decisions when our faith is rather weak and make us accept all the consequences of our choice. Keep us always faithful through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Commentary 
Faith is the “conviction of things not seen.” These words from Hebrews 11 point to things not seen—that is, things that are not the object of direct and immediate knowledge. Faith is the only evidence of such things. Thus, Jesus is credible on the attestation of God himself. At the end of Jesus’ Eucharistic discourse in John, some of his disciples were so nonplussed that they could not accept his word. To eat the body of Christ could only be seen as cannibalism and, therefore, beyond human acceptance. Hence, there were some among his followers who walked with him no longer. When Jesus asks the Twelve what they choose to do, they can only breathe a sigh of relief at the response of Peter: “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” We should not be surprised if at times we are troubled by doubts. We walk by faith and not by sight. We continue on solely because it is Christ who gives meaning to our lives. His is a teaching that is consistent and coherent, but not always easy to accept and to obey. We stay on course because he is the way, the truth, and the life. Even in our moments of doubt, we realize that his is a message of eternal life. To walk in another direction is inconceivable. We accept the Eucharist as a mystery of faith. Based on God’s own word, we have total assurance, to pray: Lord, “I believe; help my unbelief’ (Mark 9:24). 

Points to Ponder 
Faith as evidence of the unseen
The Eucharist and the real presence
Understanding moments of doubt. 

Intercessions 
– That the Gospel of the Lord may keep striking the ministers of the Church as an ever-new message, that they may proclaim it with conviction and warmth, we pray:
– That those whom the Lord has called to serve him, in the priesthood or the religious life, may continue to give themselves in joy and faithfulness to God and people, we pray:
– That those who find no purpose in life may discover a God to love and worship through the life of faith, hope and love they find in our Christian communities, we pray: 

Prayer over the Gifts 
Lord, our God, the death of Jesus your Son, was the price he had to pay for our freedom. In these signs of bread and wine, he gives himself again to us as our food and drink of life. In his strength, let us go his way to you and to people as flesh and blood for others, with faith and hope in your kingdom that will stand, forever and ever. 

Prayer after Communion 
Lord, our God, in response to your invitation of love we have chosen you through our godparents as the God of our lives. In the strength of this Eucharist help us to renew day after day this commitment to you and to your kingdom. Let your Son build up with us a community of peace and service, and when it is slow in coming reassure us that in your own good time, the seed will bear fruit and grow forever. 

Blessing 

We have made our choice for God when we received baptism. There, through our godparents, we opted for God. Let our life never contradict this option but strengthen it, with the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.