for Sunday, April 15, 2018
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."
My sisters and brothers in the Lord,
Here are two phrases from our first two readings today: "Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away," and "I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin."
We can ask why there is so much focus on sin on this Third Sunday of Easter? Perhaps because the Gospel today tells us "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."
At times we can wonder if our world even believes in sin anymore. There is such a focus on the goodness of people even as we see our world slowly crumbling away around us because of all of the wars and hatreds and conflicts.
Jesus comes to be our Savior, but so many today do not want a Savior. Instead, we humans want pleasure, money and sex. We should not be surprised that the world is a mess. The world has always been a mess and that is why a Savior came for us. But salvation is never imposed on us. Instead, we are invited to live our lives in the way our Savior taught us and actually know the difference in our way of life.
Easter is about the death of Jesus and then His Resurrection. Each of us is invited to share in that death and resurrection and to die to ourselves so that we can live in Christ Jesus and live the way that He lived. His followers did not believe at first that He was raised from the dead. Instead, they had fled from the whole situation and only after a few brave women began to visit the tomb did the word go out: He is not there! Do you think that...
We are invited in this time of Easter to deepen our faith in the risen Christ by renewing again the promises of our Baptism: to die to self and to live in the Lord. Words are easy and actions can be costly. Once we actually understand and believe, however, that Christ is truly risen, then our lives can change. There is no one else who has ever done this. There is no one else who has invited us to share in the divine life. There is no one else who promises to be with us always.
We can ask ourselves: Can I truly preach forgiveness of sins? Do I really trust that my own sins are forgiven? Do I know that Christ died and then was raised to life and through that, our whole world was changed forever?
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: