Easter Week 3, Third Sunday of Easter Cycle C

Allelujah!!  He is (still) Risen!!  But we’re down to a single Allelujah now.  🙂

Our readings for this Sunday, the Third Sunday of Easter, the Resurrection of the Lord are here

These are the poem, my notes, and interpretations of Fr Dennis’ homily from one Cycle C year, 2016.  We are visiting: 

  • 10AM Mass on April 10, 2016 Cycle C


The poem Fr Dennis Dillon, SJ references is:

In 2016, we reflected on —

  • Jesus in the resurrection is no longer a teacher or miracle worker, but a friend who spends time and shares food with them; as noted last week — as one of us.
  • What we see witnessed by Jesus in this gospel reading is straightforward:
    • You’re going to make mistakes
    • But know you are loved by and the beloved of God
    • Tend, feed, and serve others.
  • ==> This is the resurrection in our lives and the resurrected life.

As usual, a graceful and rich, but simple homily.

I didn’t have any reflections from Fr Dennis on the poem in my notes.  Here are mine, in light of his homily. 

In the poem, No Longer a Teenager by Gerald Locklin, a father-poet recounts an adult meeting, a shared family meal, when his daughter came for a visit as a 20-year-old.  The early and stressful father-daughtering behind them, the companioning of each other is still important — “but i realized now how long it had been / since i had felt deep emotion.” 

Those emotions born of relationship and trial are all part of love … and life, whether quietly or even silently expressed in gesture (“and slid over close to me / so i could put my arm around her shoulder / until the food arrived”). 

It is so easy to go numb to or avoid darker experiences, forgetting their link to the richness of the moments full of light.  Perhaps the nature of Christ’s Resurrection and his appearances are also captured in the complexity of Locklin’s final line, “i stay alive for her.”  The Resurrection assures us that Jesus Christ, the beloved gardener of our souls, though always with us is also outside whatever tomb we may be in and “alive for [us].”

On a different note, in some Cycle C year or one of the daily gospel readings on a Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter (odd-numbered years), Fr Dennis noted some interesting twists on this passage when you look at the Ancient Greek.  (There’s a possibility this was a Fr Joe Wagner, SJ or Fr Richard D’Souza, SJ homily, but the memory seems more D2-y.) 

A small table is below, but the gist of what he noted was that Jesus moves from asking Peter the question of deep love (ἀγαπᾷς) to dear love (φιλεῖς), in other words, matching how Peter has responded to Jesus the prior two times.  The former is the unconditional Christ-like Love, while the latter (φιλεῖς) is relational, more of human than divine nature. 

Likewise the interlinear Greek passage uses “shepherd” for the translation of Ποίμαινε, rather than “tend.”  Hunh. Now that I’ve reflected on this … it’s also interesting that Jesus reduces what he asks of Peter. Much more difficult to feed lambs than it is to feed sheep! It is also a greater challenge to shepherd sheep than feed them.

One more example of our Jesus meeting us where we are.

VerseJC VerbPeter ResponseJC CommandObject of JC Verb
John 21:15ἀγαπᾷς (Love)φιλῶ (dearly love)Βόσκε (feed)ἀρνία (lambs)
John 21:16ἀγαπᾷς (Love)φιλῶ (dearly love)Ποίμαινε (shepherd)πρόβατά (sheep)
John 21:17Φιλεῖς (dearly love)φιλῶ (dearly love)Βόσκε (feed)πρόβατά (sheep)

I couldn’t find a gospel story image for this week that I liked though there are many good ones. 

And, for this, the Third Sunday of Easter, there is no Big. Catholic. Theme. 🙂

However, the tenderness of A Red, Red Rose written in Scots English in 1794 by Robert Burns has struck me as fitting of God’s Love between Divine Mercy and Good Shepherd Easter Sundays.  The version sung by the University College Dublin Chorale Scholars from their Perpetual Twilight album is ethereal. Our return love might be more akin to Both Sides Now – “we really don’t know love at all,” or just if you like popular culture or 21st century suggestions!

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