3rd Sunday of Easter
Sunday, April 18, 2021
First reading: Acts 3:13-15,17-19
Peter said to the people: “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence when he had decided to release him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses. Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did; but God has thus brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer. Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”
Second reading: 1 Jn. 2:1-5a
My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world. The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments. Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments are liars, and the truth is not in them. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him.
Gospel: Lk. 24:35-48
The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread.
While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.
He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
In other words Fr. Vic Uy, SVD (Holy Name University, Tagbilaran City, Bohol)
What is the point of our Gospel reading today? When this was asked to a group of grade school pupils, their answer was short and simple: that Jesus is risen!
When this reality presented itself before His disciples, however, their initial reaction was one of unbelief. After all, they saw with their own eyes how He was tortured and killed. So, when Jesus appeared to them ALIVE, they thought He was a ghost.
At any rate, before we criticize them for their unbelief, let us remind ourselves that if we were in their shoes, we would have acted in the same way. It’s the “see it to believe it” in us that makes us doubtful and cautious before believing or accepting anything that is “impossible” to be true. Remember St. Thomas’ reaction? “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and feet… I will not believe.” (John 20:25).
Then Jesus proceeded to explain and clarify everything to them.
But why? It was because He had a vital mission for them to do: to be His witnesses to the ends of the Earth. To be a witness, one must believe in His resurrection ; it was necessary, not only for the apostles but also for those to whom they would preach the Good News of His resurrection. For it was their faith in His resurrection that made them proclaim the Good News to everyone, without counting the cost or regard for their life. And people believed in them because it was evident by the way they lived and died for the sake of Jesus Christ.
To recall, Jesus selected 12 men from among his closest disciples. Then, after three years of being with Him, they were sent out by the Risen Lord himself who commissioned them to advance God’s Kingdom throughout the world. Think about it. They were not the best of men. They were not without faults and shortcomings. None of them was a scholar or rabbi. They were ordinary men. So how were they able to “fan the flames of the gospel that would spread across the face of the Earth and continue to burn brightly throughout the centuries to come?”
There is only one possible answer: because CHRIST IS TRULY RISEN! Indeed, the resurrection matters because it is the foundation, not only of our faith but also of our eternity.
Tags: Bible reflection, Witness to the Word