Reading 1 (ACTS 5:17-26)

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles

The high priest rose up and all his companions,
that is, the party of the Sadducees,
and, filled with jealousy,
laid hands upon the Apostles and put them in the public jail.
But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison,
led them out, and said,
“Go and take your place in the temple area,
and tell the people everything about this life.”
When they heard this,
they went to the temple early in the morning and taught.
When the high priest and his companions arrived,
they convened the Sanhedrin,
the full senate of the children of Israel,
and sent to the jail to have them brought in.
But the court officers who went did not find them in the prison,
so they came back and reported,
“We found the jail securely locked
and the guards stationed outside the doors,
but when we opened them, we found no one inside.”
When the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard this report, 
they were at a loss about them,
as to what this would come to.
Then someone came in and reported to them,
“The men whom you put in prison are in the temple area
and are teaching the people.” 
Then the captain and the court officers went and brought them,
but without force,
because they were afraid of being stoned by the people.

– The word of the Lord.

Or: (GENESIS 1:26B-2:3)

A reading from the Book of Genesis

God said:
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
the birds of the air, and the cattle,
and over all the wild animals
and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.”

God created man in his image;
in the divine image he created him;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them, saying:
“Be fertile and multiply;
fill the earth and subdue it.
Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air,
and all the living things that move on the earth.”
God also said:
“See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth
and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food;
and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air,
and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground,
I give all the green plants for food.”
And so it happened. 
God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.
Evening came, and morning followed–the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed.
Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing,
God rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.
So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy,
because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.

– The word of the Lord.

Or (COLOSSIANS 3:14-15, 17, 23-24)

A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians

Brothers and sisters:
Over all these things put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one Body.
And be thankful.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Whatever you do, do from the heart,
as for the Lord and not for men,
knowing that you will receive from the Lord
the due payment of the inheritance;
be slaves of the Lord Christ.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9)

R.(7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
R. Alleluia.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R.The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
R. Alleluia.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
R. Alleluia.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
R. Alleluia.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
R. Alleluia.

Or(PSALM 90:2, 3-4, 12-13, 14 AND 16)

R.    (see 17b)  Lord, give success to the work of our hands.
R.    Alleluia.
Before the mountains were begotten
and the earth and the world were brought forth,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
R.    Lord, give success to the work of our hands.
R.    Alleluia.
You turn men back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R.    Lord, give success to the work of our hands.
R.    Alleluia.
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R.    Lord, give success to the work of our hands.
R.    Alleluia.
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
Let your work be seen by your servants
and your glory by their children.
R.    Lord, give success to the work of our hands.
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia (JOHN 3:16)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God so love the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Or (PSALM 68:20)

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed be the Lord day by day,
God, our salvation, who bears our burdens.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (JOHN 3:16-21)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Or (MATTHEW 13:54-58)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue.
They were astonished and said, 
“Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?
Is he not the carpenter’s son?
Is not his mother named Mary
and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?
Are not his sisters all with us?
Where did this man get all this?”
And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and in his own house.”
And he did not work many mighty deeds there
because of their lack of faith.

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1: The Seasons of Lent and Easter can be summarized with our Gospel for today (John 3:16-21), at which part of it is our most favorite Biblical verse (Cf. John 3:16). During Lent, we prepared ourselves for forty days with sacrifice, penance, and charity for the celebration of the Paschal Mystery of our Lord Jesus Christ (Passion, Death, and Resurrection) on Holy Week and Easter Time. At the River Jordan, God revealed Jesus to be his beloved Son, in whom favor rests upon him. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Christ fasted for forty days and forty nights in a desert in Jericho and was tempted by the Devil, Satan himself. But he stood firm in times of this struggle and succumbed to the will of the Father. This event prepared him for his Public Ministry and greatest act. And as we reach Holy Week, we deepen our faith in the Lord as we commemorate his ultimate sacrifice for our salvation through the Celebration of the Sacred Paschal Triduum. We tried to understand the importance and impact of Christ’s Suffering and Death on the Cross. Finally, from the Vigil of Holy Saturday night until this coming Pentecost Sunday, we continue to relish with joy Easter Time, that is to say, the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Through Christ’s Resurrection, he has defeated the power of sin and death; thus, giving us new life, new hope, new birth, and new living faith.
So my dear brothers and sisters, the three sacred periods mentioned and the whole Liturgical Calendar symbolizes God’s love for us, which is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Yes, God loved the world, even though it was sinful, unfaithful, and disobedient, because his great plan was sending his Only Begotten Son. Although Jesus has already left the largest legacy, there are still some who choose to live in sin. That is why the Evangelist Saint John the Beloved said that whoever believes in the Son will be saved and not condemned, and whoever does not believe will be judged and condemned. And he mentioned the symbolisms of light and darkness. Light is when we have good and faithful lives because of our good works, while darkness is when we have evil and unruly lives because of our sins. As we journey down this Easter road, let us put our faith in God and his Son, Jesus Christ, by living the commandments, doctrines, devotions, etc. through word and action. Let us reflect meditatively on this Inspirational Song:
🎵 “For God so loved the world,
He gave us His Only Son,
Jesus Christ, our Savior,
His Most Precious One.
He has sent us His message of love
and sends those who hear,
to bring the message of everyone
in a voice loud and clear.

Let us tell the world of His love,
the greatest love the world has known.
Search the world for those who have walked astray
and lead them home.
Fill the world’s darkest corners
with His light from up above.
Walk ev’ry step, ev’ry mile, ev’ry road
and tell the world, tell the world of His love.” 🎵

Reflection 2: Last March 19, we celebrated the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Now as we begin the month of our blessed Mother, we celebrate the Memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker. In 1889, during the Industrial Revolution, the First of May was declared as Labor Day. And in 1955, Venerable Pius XII declared this day as the Memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker because Saint Joseph is the Patron of Workers. In the Gospel, we see Jesus being rejected by his fellow townfolks. They don’t believe that he is the Messiah, the one to save them. They believed more in the Jewish oracles than the prophecies of the Old Testament prophets because of the persecutions. But Jesus teaches us that his faith has come to do good works such as his miracles. Saint Joseph was a humble carpenter even though he is the legal father of our Savior. He died on March 19, 29 A.D. before the beginning of the public ministry of our Lord. He left us an example of doing good work before doing any relaxation. Even Jesus humbled himself even though he is the Son of God, which is also equal with God. He performed good works of the Sabbath even though the Jews do not allow it because he has mercy. This is what faith teaches us. As we journey down this Easter road, may Saint Joseph inspire us to do good works because that is what strengthens our faith.

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