and Daily Meditation
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Third Sunday of Easter
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
Psalm 4:2, 4, 7-9
1 John 2:1-5
A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:
We celebrate Easter as one long feast day from Easter Sunday itself all the way to Pentecost. Our readings each day describe many exciting events that happened following the Lord's rising from the dead.
Today's first reading describes a scene in the Temple. It happens in Solomon's Portico just after Peter has cured the lame man. As the man leaps for joy, a very large crowd gathers (later reports put the number at three thousand). Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, declares that it is God who has worked this miracle, and that what they have seen is another proof that the man, Jesus, whom they crucified, was truly God's Son.
We can imagine how those words must have pierced many hearts with terrifying guilt. They were the ones who had cried, "Crucify Him!" just a short time ago. Memories of God's terrible punishments in years past must have crowded their minds. What were they to do?
Peter's words reassure them. Since they acted out of ignorance, God offers them salvation if they repent and believe. They must be baptized in His Name, and in the Father and the Holy Spirit. And they must spread the Word. This is the mission of every follower of Jesus!
The Gospel for this Sunday is even more exciting! This is Luke's account of the commissioning of the apostles. Scene One takes place in the upper room, where the two disciples, to whom Jesus appeared on their way to Emmaus, have just returned, breathless and bursting with the news that Jesus is alive.
Even as they speak, Jesus suddenly appears to the whole assembly, throwing them into consternation and fear. With powerful persuasion, Jesus convinces them that He is not a spirit, but a human person, very alive. He asks them for something to eat. They give Him a piece of baked fish which He eats in their presence! From the upper room, Jesus leads them out to Bethany where the crowd had acclaimed Him as King. According to Luke, Jesus ascends from here and disappears into the heavens.
The greater news is that Jesus is still with us - in the Eucharist, in the Spirit that dwells within us, and in our loving encounters with one another. He is here in our sorrows, supporting and strengthening us, keeping us on the journey that will inevitably lead to fullness of life, if only we are faithful. With stronger and stronger convictions flowing from our joy, may we sing out our "Alleluias" ever more loudly!
::: Msgr. Paul Whitmore | email: pwhitmore29 (at) yahoo (dot) com