Saturday, April 25, 2009

April 26: Third Sunday of Easter Year B

April 26: Third Sunday of Easter Year B
Readings: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; 1 John 2:1-5; Luke 24:35-48

This Sunday, we come together to celebrate and to proclaim the risen Lord, who is our advocate with the Father. In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles Peter proclaims that in Jesus' name repentance for the forgiveness of sins is preached to all. Peter therefore underlines the message of forgiveness. Without knowing the people had preferred a criminal to the Holy One; they had preferred death to life. They had put Jesus to death on the cross. "God, however, raised him from the dead and that we are the witnesses…Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out". Peter's proclamation of the resurrection is linked to repentance. In other words, to be touched by the resurrection is to experience God's immense love that must lead to conversion and living a new life in Christ. In the second reading, John continues the same theme of repentance. Our faith in the risen Lord implies living in fidelity to his commandments. The clearest manifestation of faith in the resurrection is found in those moments when we move from alienation to conversion and assume a new direction in life.

The Gospel passage presents another post-resurrection appearance of the risen Lord to the disciples. The Gospel starts with the experience of the two disciples who have just come back from Emmaus deeply touched by their experience of meeting the Risen Lord, recognizing Him in the breaking of bread. While they share their story, Jesus appears to the whole group and tries to convince the disciples through their senses of touching and seeing. Thus they touch him and see for themselves that he is really himself. That is why Jesus shows them his hands and his side so that they can see with their own eyes. Finally the disciples are convinced that it is really the same Jesus, the crucified one who has come back to life. The light of the resurrection enlightens the scriptures for the disciples, as Jesus explains the things he had told them about himself. "Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day..." Luke tells us that the disciples were so joyful that they could not believe it. In this conviction, Peter would witness on behalf of the rest that God raised Jesus from the dead, and that they are the witnesses. We gather around the Eucharist this Sunday to proclaim and witness to the same truth of the resurrection, because this same Jesus, the Paschal Victim once offered for the sins of the world, is risen and is alive among us. What message do we take home? 1) At this celebration, we too meet the Risen Lord who speaks to us and enlightens us to understand the scriptures; 2) Like the two disciples at Emmaus, we meet the Risen Lord at the breaking of bread; 3) We too must let ourselves be touched by the resurrection and be led to live a new life in Christ; 4) Like the apostles, we too are so overjoyed and filled with the Spirit of the Risen Lord, that cannot but give witness to what we have seen and heard.

©2009 John M. Mbinda

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