3rd Sunday of Easter (Cycle C) – May 5, 2019


Liturgical Color – White (Stands for light, innocence, purity, joy, triumph, and glory.)
Purpose –
This is the great 50 days of joyful celebration of the Lord’s resurrection from the dead and ending with His sending forth of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

3rd Sunday of Easter Theme: What an Impact a Resurrection Makes!

As a result of Christ’s resurrection, besides the enormous blessing of opening the gates of Heaven for us to have the possibility of eternal life with Him, today’s readings reveal that: The prophecies of this resurrection happening, have been validated and confirmed; The apostles are empowered, through the Holy Spirit within them, to preach about Jesus; The people are open to learning about and believing in Jesus; The elders are now worshiping Jesus; And, The Church of Jesus Christ has been established.

In fact, everything that exists and moves in the Church – the sacraments, doctrine, institutions – draws its strength from Christ’s Resurrection.(Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, “Life in Christ”)

Reading 1 Acts of the Apostles 5:27-32,40b-41     The apostles are brought before the Sanhedrin a second time and again ordered to stop speaking in Jesus’ name – but they don’t!

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 30:2,4-6,11-13     This is a prayer for deliverance from earthly tribulation.

Reading 2 – Revelation 5:11-14     John describes his vision of the praises that will be sung to the Lamb by every creature on heaven and earth.

Gospel John 21:1-19     Jesus appears to the disciples for a third time after His Resurrection.

This Bible Study’s primary references used are from St Joseph Sunday Missal,,, Ascension Catholic Church Sunday Reflections, USCCB, Understanding the Scriptures by Scott Hahn, St Thomas Aquinas’ Works, RSV Oxford Annotated Bible, Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, St Charles Borromeo Bible Studies, LUMINA Bible Study, The Franciscans St. Anthony’s Guild, and Haydock’s Catholic Bible Commentary.

NOTE: The Lectionary Bible Readings for this Sunday – Readings 1 & 2, Responsorial Psalm, and the Gospel, all appear in purple in the following. Footnotes are included in these passages and the contents of all the footnotes appear at the end of this document.

Reading 1     Acts of the Apostles 5:27-32, 40b-41                         (Preaching the Name)

Today’s reading – Last Sunday we read about the apostles being arrested and told to stop preaching about Jesus. Today we learn that they continued to preach and are again arrested. Filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, that Jesus breathed upon them in the Upper Room after His resurrection, the Apostles will not be silenced. They proclaim that they must obey God rather than man and proclaim what they had witnessed.

When the captain and the court officers had brought the apostles in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them, “We gave you strict orders, did we not, to stop teaching in that Name? Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this Man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles said in reply, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had Him killed by hanging Him on a tree. God exalted Him at His right hand [i] as Leader and Savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

The Sanhedrin ordered the apostles to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the Name. [ii]

PAUSE and reflect on how the above speaks to you.         Who killed Jesus? The official Church teaching is clear that we do not blame all the Jews at the time of the Lord nor all of the Jews to this day. The Second Vatican Council in its “Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions” (“Nostra Aetate”) states, “Even though the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ, neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during His passion.” In summary, Pope Benedict XVI states that the real group of accusers were the current Temple authorities at that time along with the “crowd” of Barabbas’ supporters. 

Responsorial Psalm.     Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13                   (Divine Security)

David praises God for his deliverance, and for God’s merciful dealings with him.

R. – I will praise You, Lord, for You have rescued me. [iii]
I will extol You, O LORD, for You drew me clear and did not let my enemies rejoice over me. O LORD, You brought me up from the netherworld; You preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
R. – I will praise You, Lord, for You have rescued me.
Sing praise to the LORD, you His faithful ones, and give thanks to His holy Name. For His anger lasts but a moment; a lifetime, His good will. At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R. – I will praise You, Lord, for You have rescued me.
Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me; O LORD, be my helper. You changed my mourning into dancing; O LORD, my God, forever will I give You thanks.
R. – I will praise You, Lord, for You have rescued me.

PAUSE and reflect on how the above speaks to you.

Reading 2     Revelation 5:11-14                (The Throne of God)

Today’s reading – John visualizes a heavenly realm where there is a victory celebration taking place for Jesus, the victorious Lamb who has returned home to heaven and to God, having conquered sin and death. In the Eucharistic celebration, we sing of the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Our earthly liturgies seek to pattern themselves after the heavenly liturgy described here. Both seek to give fitting honor and praise to the Lamb of God.

I, John, looked and heard the voices of many angels who surrounded the throne and the living creatures and the elders. They were countless in number, and they cried out in a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb (Jesus) that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing.” Then 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 honor, glory and might, forever and ever.” The four living creatures [iv] answered, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

PAUSE and reflect on how the above speaks to you.

Gospel     John 21:1-19                     (Christ Is Lord)

Today’s Reading – Christ manifests Himself, again for a third time after His Resurrection, to His disciples. Last week we heard that Jesus appeared twice to the gathered disciples in the Upper Room. In today’s Gospel, the disciples are no longer in Jerusalem; they are in Galilee, returning to their work of fishing.

Possibly, in total bewilderment as what to do next, the Apostles return to their basic instinct to be fisherman (and Matthew went along, now knowing not to return to the evils of tax collecting). They fish all night but catch nothing, Jesus then “finds them in their need” and directs them to recast their nets. And they are mighty successful in their catch, as a result of following “the word of the Lord”. (This miraculous catch symbolizes the mission of the Apostles to persist in spreading Christianity, and the central role of Jesus in this mission.) Then, reminiscent of the Eucharist Meal on Holy Thursday, Jesus provides a meal for them. In closing, Jesus focuses His attention on Peter and reemphasizes Peter’s mission to establish His Church and for him to “Follow Me”.

At that time, Jesus revealed Himself again to His disciples at the Sea of Tiberias [v]. He revealed Himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of His disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We also will come with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered Him, “No.” So He said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. [vi] Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” And none of the disciples dared to ask Him, “Who are You?” because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to His disciples after being raised from the dead.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My lambs.” [vii] He then said to Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.” Jesus said to him the third time, [viii] “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time, “Do you love Me?” and he said to Him, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. [ix]   And when He had said this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

PAUSE and reflect on how the above speaks to you.         St. John says, above, “It is the Lord”. In last Sunday’s Gospel, St. Thomas said “My Lord and my God”. On Easter Sunday’s Gospel, St. Mary Magdalene said “They have taken the Lord from the tomb.”. Notice the reference to Jesus becomes “Lord” after His resurrection. Before this, He was called “Master”, Teacher”, “Rabbi”.
“Lord Jesus Christ” – the three names of one Person, Jesus, denoting His threefold office:
1. He is
 Lord, (King) a universal king or sovereign.
2. Jesus,
 (Savior) a priest or Savior.
3. Christ,
 (Messiah, Anointed One) a prophet, anointed with the Spirit and furnished with all gifts necessary for the instruction, guidance, and salvation of His church.

Catechism 645 – By means of touch and the sharing of a meal, the risen Jesus establishes direct contact with His disciples. He invites them in this way to recognize that He is not a ghost and above all to verify that the risen body in which He appears to them is the same body that had been tortured and crucified, for it still bears the traces of His Passion. Yet at the same time this authentic, real body possesses the new properties of a glorious body: not limited by space and time but able to be present how and when He wills; for Christ’s humanity can no longer be confined to earth, and belongs henceforth only to the Father’s divine realm. For this reason too, the risen Jesus enjoys the sovereign freedom of appearing as He wishes: in the guise of a gardener or in other forms familiar to His disciples, precisely to awaken their faith.

[i] Reading 1 Footnotes:
“God exalted Him at His right hand” = This signifies a person being considered most relied upon, most valuable, most useful as an assistant.
[ii] “rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the Name of Jesus” = The ninth Beatitude – “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”
[iii] Responsorial Psalm Footnotes:
“I will praise You, Lord, for You have rescued me.” = Think about the synonyms for the word “rescued” and then the impact of this statement becomes much more profound – saved, freed, liberated, come to the aid of, redeemed, ransomed, emancipated, kept from being lost or abandoned.
[iv] Reading 2 Footnote:
The four living creatures” = They represent all of life: the lion – mobility, the bull – strength, the man – wisdom, and the eagle – swiftness. (See Revelation 4:7 and Ezekiel 1:5,10)
[v] Gospel Footnotes:
“Sea of Tiberias” = Located in northeast Israel. It is also called the Sea of Galilee, Sea of Kinneret, and Lake of Gennesaret.
[vi] “So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.“ = This signifies Peter as the Pope bringing together to God the great number of people that will be converted by the labors of the apostles and our priests to this day.
[vii] “Jesus said to him, “Feed My lambs.”, Tend My sheep”, “Feed My sheep” = In all of this, Jesus is reaffirming to Peter to establish the Church of Jesus Christ. “Feed My lambs” refers to Peter’s care and direction of the apostles – When Jesus called to the Apostles from the shore (as mentioned in the Gospel reading), He referred to them as “children”. “Tend” and “Feed My sheep” refers to Peter’s role in establishing, guiding, ruling, and governing the Church and its faithful members.
[viii] “Jesus said to him the third time” = Some do not agree with the commentary as mentioned at Footnote #6, above, but believe this triple question is reminiscent of Peter’s triple denial. However, it’s possible that these denials were only “little white lies” by Peter so that he could stay in close proximity to Jesus during His arrest and trial and not be made to leave. After all, he was the one who raised his sword against the soldiers at the time of Jesus’ arrest. What do you think?
[ix] “by what kind of death he would glorify God” = Peter was martyred under Nero by being hung upside down on a cross sometime during 64-68 AD.