Third Sunday of Easter, April 18 at St. Francis Xavier Parish
As we approach the 3rd Sunday of Easter (April 18) and continue our celebration of the Easter Season, I invite you to enter into it by reflecting on the Gospel reading for this Sunday, recalling Christ’s post-resurrection appearance to his disciples.
“This Sunday’s gospel follows the appearance of the risen Jesus to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus. The Emmaus meal was a welcoming event; the meal with the risen Jesus in Jerusalem will be a missioning event. Despite the witness of the two disciples who have hurried back from Emmaus and the news of Jesus’s appearance to Simon, the eleven and their companions are still startled and terrified when Jesus appears among them and greets them with peace. They think he is a ghost! In this gospel of Luke, as in John’s narrative last Sunday, Jesus makes clear to them the reality of his glorified human presence, his full embodied existence, by showing them his wounded hands and feet, inviting them to touch him, asking them to give him something to eat, and then taking the piece of grilled fish and eating it before their eyes.
In Luke’s Last Supper account, Jesus was among his disciples “as the one who serves” (Luke 22:27); now he is among them as one who is to be served. Just seeing with their human eyes is not enough. As Jesus had done in the passion predictions during his ministry, as he had done for the disciples on the way to Emmaus, as the two messengers at the tomb had done for the women on Easter morning, Jesus now opens the eyes of the Jerusalem disciples’ hearts so that they may understand the Scriptures. Luke mentions the threefold division of the Hebrew Scriptures: the teaching of Moses (the Pentateuch/ Torah), the Prophets, and the Writings (represented by the psalms). These were the Scriptures that had nourished Jesus throughout his life.
Jesus tells his disciples clearly that they cannot stay in this Jerusalem house of ecstatic joy, listening to his words and serving him at table. This experience must burst through the doors in the service of those outside, people of all nations who are waiting to hear the Good News of repentance and forgiveness of their sins. (…)
This is what the disciples are to witness. And we, who at the Eucharist also sit at the “transformed table” of Jesus, share in the same urgent mission. As individuals and as church, we must admit our own sinfulness, continually turn to Jesus in repentance, and then go out in the strength of the Eucharist we have received to bear credible, outreaching witness of the need for conversion to the following of Jesus in our own small or larger worlds. Many places in our contemporary world are obviously not founded on repentance and forgiveness, but on war and entrenched animosities that we may publicly lament, or rationalize, or even excuse, while at the same time still allowing violence and bitterness to inhabit our hearts. If we are to be disciples who take seriously Jesus’s Easter greeting of “Peace be with you” and who offer this peace to one another around the eucharistic table with a present and future intent, we need to create a space in our lives and our hearts where such peace with God and with our sisters and brothers can truly be at home.” (Living Liturgy 2021)
Every year at the Easter Vigil the Catholic Church welcomes new members into its family through the reception of sacraments. While people can become Catholic at any time of the year, the Easter Vigil is a particularly appropriate moment for adult catechumens to be baptized and for already-baptized Christians to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church. Parishes welcome these new Catholics through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). Here at St. Francis Xavier Parish we welcomed into our Catholic community through the sacrament of baptism: James Cieri and April Evans, who during the Easter Vigil received the sacraments of Confirmation and First Communion. At the same time Adriana Molinares, who is already Roman Catholic, received the Sacrament of Confirmation. We welcome and congratulate you all on this tremendous occasion. I wish to invite our parishioners to welcome our new family members by extending words of welcome when you see James, April and Adriana at Sunday Mass or by sending them an email. At the same time, I wish to thank our RCIA team for leading and guiding the catechumens and candidate during this unprecedented time when most meetings had to take place online. I am very grateful to Ken Mariglia, the RCIA parish coordinator, who was responsible for organizing meetings during the past 7 months and keeping everything planned. I also wish to extend my appreciation to the RCIA team members who were involved in preparing and leading seasons every week: Linda Mariglia, Leorita Staresina, Frank Lupo, Marianne Grguric and Fr. Claude. Thank you as well to the RCIA sponsors who were present at the sessions and assisted the candidates: Jean Goobie, Laura Moore and Carlos Mestre.
In your prayers please remember our parishioners who passed away this week: Mariangela Suriani, whose funeral was held on Wednesday, and Nella Carniti, whose funeral was on Thursday. Both funerals took place at St. Francis Xavier Church with limited capacity due to the ongoing pandemic. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. Please remember also the families who mourn the loss of their loved ones.
One again I am renewing my appeal to our parishioners on behalf of our Knights of Columbus. They need your assistance during this challenging time when they cannot have any fundraising events. A few months back one of the freezers belonging to them failed and is beyond the cost of repair. They are asking if anyone would be able to donate a used stand-up freezer. If a parishioner has one that they no longer need then the Knights would be prepared to come by to pick it up. Please call the Grand Knight, Rocco Viola, at 905-662-1224 for more information.
Finally, as you know from the announcement made by the Premier of Ontario just an hour ago, as of Monday, April 19 places of worship will be limited to only 10 people in the building at a time. As of now we do not have any additional information regarding the celebration of Masses, liturgies and Sacraments from the Diocese, but the moment we know something I will send an email to all on our distribution list and post it on our website.
You are invited to participate in Mass this weekend either in person (we remain at 15% of our seating capacity) or online. At this time we continue to live-stream the 9:00am Sunday Mass.