For Sunday, April 22, 2012
Third Sunday of Easter
Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
1 John 2:1-5a
At 240 pounds, she's already two pounds heavier than Green Bay Packer linebacker Desmond Bishop. And at 7 feet, 3 inches, she overshadows all but the very tallest NBA players. (The shortest of the top ten tallest players of all time comes in at 7 feet, 4 inches.) You can only imagine the stunned looks on the faces of those who first saw her. Add to it the fact that she is likely 125 years old and profound amazement overtook those who first encountered her. To use a word from this Sunday's Gospel, they were incredulous!
"She" was a record sturgeon that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources had pulled from the Wolf River near Shawano, Wisconsin last week, in a tagging operation that has taken place in the spring of each year since the 1950s. Officials think that the fish would have been even thirty pounds heavier, but she had recently laid some eggs.
After being tagged and photographed, the fish was returned to the river, hopefully to live out her days spawning more sturgeon.
This weekend's Gospel has a bit of an incredulous fish story as well. (We use that metaphor to figuratively describe something that just doesn't seem right.) Jesus shows up in the midst of his disciples, who are startled and terrified. They cannot believe that it is him, even though they had just listened to the account of the two disciples who had met him on the road to Emmaus. Even though he showed them his hands and his feet, it was the baked fish that convinced them that he was real. He ate it in front of them.
Biologists always believed that there were still some of those big sturgeon lurking around. As Wisconsin DNR biologist Ron Bruch put it, "I knew they were out there and I thought, 'We finally got one of these massive, nuclear submarine-type sturgeon.'" It was surely a moment of pure joy, a once in a lifetime event.
For the disciples, having the risen Lord show up in their midst was a moment of pure joy as well. It was momentous, a once in a lifetime event!
Except that it wasn't!
We may not physically encounter the risen Lord as someone who stands before us and eats a piece of fish. But we do encounter the risen Lord at each and every Eucharist, when we receive the body and blood of Christ. The risen Christ shows up in our midst more than once in a lifetime. He is present among us when we gather together for the breaking of the bread just like he was for the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, just like he was for those gathered together in the upper room. We could be incredulous that he is here. But we should also be filled with sheer joy. The risen Christ is among us. Alleluia!
your Son revealed himself to his disciples
in the breaking of the bread.
May we who celebrate his presence among us
rejoice in the love he bestows on all believers.
May all who are baptized share the joy of Easter.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
2012 RCIA INSTITUTES
New events continue to be added to the calendar for RCIA Institutes sponsored by the North American Forum on the Catechumenate. As the work of your parish RCIA reaches fruition with the Easter sacraments, invite the team members to consider participating in a summer event to deepen their understanding of the good work they do. A listing can be found at: www.naforum.org/wordpress/events/.
CATHOLIC HOME MISSIONS APPEAL—April 28–29
Many dioceses will take up the annual collection for the Catholic Home Missions the weekend of April 28–29. Resources are available from the USCCB on their website at http://usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/catholic-home-missions-appeal/collection/index.cfm. Parishes which use the publishing services of Liturgical Publications Inc can find these resources on the LPi Art & Media Portal with the key word "Catholic Home Missions Appeal."
2012 CATHOLIC PARISH WEBSITE OF THE YEAR
Would you like $500 for your parish? Is your parish website informative and attractive? Enter the 2012 Catholic Parish Website of the Year Contest sponsored by LPi and the Catholic Tech Talk Blog. Check out the entry details at: http://catholictechtalk.com/contests/. Deadline is April 30, 2012.
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