Easter Octave, Saturday April 18th

Acts 4:13-21 / Mark 16:9-15 
Jesus instructs his disciples: “Proclaim the gospel to all creatures.”

The capital of Texas is named after Stephen Austin, an early pioneer who founded numerous settlements in Texas. Austin didn’t like preachers and tried to keep them out of his towns. One reason he disliked preachers was that they were always preaching against his saloons and the violence they caused. One man who knew Austin well quoted him as saying that one preacher could stir up more trouble in his settlements than a dozen horse thieves.
When Jesus commanded his disciples to preach the Gospel, he intended them to stir up trouble. That’s what Jesus himself did.
Do we challenge social structures that need to be challenged? Like the prophets before him, Jesus comforted the disturbed and disturbed the comfortable.

What is said of the Resurrection of Jesus can also be said about the Real Presence in the Eucharist: For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who don't believe no explanation is possible.

The gospel reported that lastly, Jesus showed Himself to the Eleven and He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy. But then, who can fault the apostles for that. For someone to rise from the dead, even though it is Jesus, was something they had not come across and something that is really difficult to believe in.

Others have told them that they had seen the Risen Lord, but until they saw the Risen Jesus for themselves, it would be really difficult for them to believe it. But the same cannot be said about the rulers, the elders, the scribes and the Sanhedrin of the 1st reading.

They admitted that a miracle had be worked, they saw the man who had been cured, and they could find no answer. Actually, it was more like they could not find a reason not to believe. So, they were really obstinate and incredulous. As for us, we have come to the Eucharist and we believe that Jesus is really present in the forms of bread and wine. Let us truly believe. And if we have doubts, then let us pray - Lord, help me in my unbelief.
Octave of Easter Saturday 


If we have really encountered the Risen Lord in faith, nothing can stop us from proclaiming him and his Good News. But stronger and more convincing than whatever we say will be the language of our attitudes and actions. As this was the experience of the apostles, it should also be ours. We live the same life as other people, do the same things, but we should do them in a different way if we have really met Christ. 

Opening Prayer 
Our God and Father, your Son Jesus, lived among us, flesh of our flesh, blood of our blood. He died for our sake and you raised him back to life. May we experience his love and his presence to such an extent, that we can never stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard, and that people may give glory to you, our God. We ask this in the name of Jesus, the Lord.

Penitential Rite
-Though the LORD has indeed chastised me, yet he has not delivered me to death. LHM
-I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. CHM
-Open to me the gates of justice; I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD. LHM

Today’s Gospel is taken from the longer ending of Mark’s Gospel. The earlier abrupt ending was later emended with this summary of Jesus’ appearances after the resurrection, taken from different Gospels. In the Acts of the Apostles conclusion to the account of the cure of the crippled man, the Jewish authorities forbid the apostles any further mention of Jesus or his teaching. However, in having been commissioned by the risen Christ, their mandate is from God himself. In accepting the decree of the Jewish authorities, they would be clearly disobeying God. Hence, for them there is no choice in the matter. They must continue to preach what they have heard and seen. Conflicts between conscience and civil government are not uncommon today, the abortion debate being a case in point. Religious belief holds that life is given by God himself and is sacred at every stage of development. Therefore, abortion rights advocates find no ally in the Christian conscience. In another case, there are some twelve million illegal immigrants in this country at the present time, with many of them here for many years. Mass deportation is no solution, but tighter border control is. What flies in the face of basic Christian values is to make material assistance to a needy immigrant a felony. One cannot ask for a green card in the face of genuine need. Here God must be obeyed, not man. Conflicts between conscience and human authorities are not infrequent. But the basic principle remains the same. It is to God that we owe our first allegiance. 

Points to Ponder 
Conflicts between conscience and human authority
Charity: Christianity’s first law Suffering for principle. 

– That the Church may never hesitate to proclaim to the world truths and lifestyles that are not pleasant for the world to hear, we pray:
– That missionaries and all Christians by their lifestyle keep proclaiming that Christ is alive and relevant, we pray:
– That we may never get tired of living the risen life of the Lord and keep the enthusiasm of a deep faith and attachment to Jesus, we pray: 

Prayer over the Gifts 
Lord, our God, accept this bread and this wine and let your Son be alive among us in these signs. May he give us a bit of his own strength to keep us on our feet in the storms of life, to live in the joy of people who are redeemed, for the Lord is alive and we are alive on account of him, now and for ever. 

Prayer after Communion 
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son has chosen us to be his companions. May people recognize him in us and may they accept him when what we do convinces them that he is with us and that you are our God in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. 

This whole week after Easter has steeped us in faith in the Risen Lord. May this faith, indeed, be the core of our belief and of our life. The Lord is risen. We rise with him even now, little by little, to a new and more beautiful life in Christ. Stay in that certainty and joy, with the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.