Reading 1 (ACTS 5:27-33)

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles

When 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 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.”

When they heard this,
they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 34:2 AND 9, 17-18, 19-20)

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.
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.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Many are the troubles of the just man,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia (JOHN 20:29)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord;
blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (JOHN 3:31-36)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John

The one who comes from above is above all.
The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things.
But the one who comes from heaven is above all.
He testifies to what he has seen and heard,
but no one accepts his testimony.
Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.
For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.
He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.
The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life,
but the wrath of God remains upon him.

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: The Gospel speaks of our faith in the Lord. We believe that God is the Creator of the universe, the powerful and almighty, and the loving Father. This is the same when we profess our faith in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We have heard in yesterday’s Gospel, especially our favorite Biblical verse, on how God loved us and sent his Son into the world to bring salvation, and if we believe in him and walk in his light, then we will merit eternal life in the world to come. The Evangelist Saint John the Beloved describes Jesus as the Word-made-flesh who humbles himself to fulfill the will of God the Father for our salvation. At the same time, Christ remains to be truly and eternally divine because whoever believes in him and in the Good News he testifies to will gain that gift of eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. In our Easter celebration, the victory of the Father’s loving plan of salvation has been fulfilled in the Resurrection of Jesus; thus we are made a new creation, formed out of the old one corrupted by the ancient yoke of sin, with new hope, new birth, and a living faith. The Resurrection reflects on the humility and total self-emptying of our Lord who became like us except sin and endured earthly merits, even by his sacrifice on the Cross for our salvation in accordance to God’s plan, which is why he has been exalted as Lord and given authority over all the earth (Cf. Philippians 2:6-11). The First Reading speaks about the courage of the Apostles to preach in the name of Christ, that truly he has died for our sins and rose again from the dead. This hasn’t been accepted by the high priests and the rest of the Sanhedrin who have conspired countless of times to have Jesus put to death. And when that time had come, they bribed the people to have Pilate release a murderer and sentence God’s Only Son to death. When the news of the Resurrection reached the soldiers, they covered up the event by claiming that the disciples stole his body. Well the Apostles have never stood witness to any false lie or deceit because what they stood for is the truth that Jesus Christ who has been sent by God the Father and has risen from the dead is Lord, of whom they believe and bear witness in preaching the Good News. Likewise in our lives, we have to be that Easter people, meaning our lives should not be spent in despair and fear. We need to proclaim God’s glory that reckons the darkness of our lives tirelessly without ceasing. And to do that, we have to put our faith in him and in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ by giving witness to the message, most importantly God’s divine will, in our everyday lives.

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