April 18, 2021
God resurrected him from the dead, and we are witnesses of it.
Whoever keeps his word, certainly the love of God has come in him to his fullness.
“Look at my hands and feet: it’s me in person.”
Reading the Acts of the Apostles 3, 13-15. 17-19
In those days, Peter said to the people:
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you gave and rejected before Pilate, when he had decided to let go. You reneged on the Holy and the Righteous, and asked for the pardon of a murderer; they killed the author of life, but God resurrected him from the dead, and we witnessed it. Now, brethren, I know that you did so out of ignorance, as did your authorities; But God fulfilled in this way what He had predicted by the prophets, that His Messiah had to suffer. Therefore, repent and become, that your sins may be erased.
Psalm 4.2. 4. 7. 9
Shine upon us, Lord, the light of your face.
Listen to me when I invoke you, God of my righteousness;
you who in the predicament gave me width,
have mercy on me and listen to my prayer. R.
Know it: the Lord performed miracles on my behalf,
and the Lord will listen to me when He invokes it.
There are many who say:
“Who will make us see the bliss,
if the light on your face has fled from us?” R.
In peace I go to bed and immediately fall asleep,
because you alone, Lord, make me live peacefully. R.
Reading the Apostle John’s first letter 2, 1-5a
My children, I am writing this to you so that you do not sin. But if any sin, we have one who advocates before the Father: Jesus Christ, the Righteous. He is a victim of propitiation for our sins, not only for our own, but also for those of the whole world. In this we know that we know him: in that we keep his commandments. Who says, “I know him,” and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, certainly the love of God has come in him to his fullness.
Reading the Holy Gospel according to Luke 24, 35-48
At that time, Jesus’ disciples told them what had happened to them along the way and how they had recognized him by spliting bread.
They were talking about these things, when he showed up in their midst and says:
“Peace to you”.
But they, terrified and full of fear, thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them:
“Why are you alarmed, why do doubts arise in your heart? Look at my hands and feet: it’s me in person. Stop me and realize that a spirit has no flesh and bones, as you see I have.” That said, he showed them his hands and feet. And because they had not just believed for joy, and were still stunned, he said unto them:
“Do you have anything to eat there?”
They offered him a piece of roast fish. He took it and ate it in front of them. And he said to them:
“This is what I told you while I was with you: that everything written in the law of Moses and in the Prophets and Psalms about me needed to be fulfilled.” Then he opened their understanding to understand the scriptures. And he said to them:
“Thus was it written: the Messiah shall suffer, be resurrected from the dead on the third day, and in his name conversion for the forgiveness of sins shall be proclaimed to all peoples, beginning with Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.”
We are already on the third Sunday of Easter and the whole Church continues to joyfully celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection, her victory over sin, and death. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, manifested in his apparitions to the disciples, changed their lives from fearful hidden followers to living witnesses of the Lord and cheerful and determined communicators of his Good News.
This process of conversion that Jesus’ first disciples lived, and not always in a placid and automatic way, must also be lived by us. That is why we must not tire, during Easter time, of asking the Lord for the grace and gift of feeling him alive, with a beating heart, by our side, in our chores and struggles, and not only when we pray or go to church.
From today’s Word of God we can draw several conclusions or learn various teachings. The first focuses on the phrase “it had to be like this” or “it was necessary.” St. Peter tells the people who listened to him, “God fulfilled in this way what He had foretold by the prophets, that his Messiah had to suffer.” The text of today’s Gospel begins with the allusion to the disciples of Emmaus who, upon their return to Jerusalem, after Jesus appeared to them, told others what had happened to them along the way and how they recognized him as they broke bread. Jesus also told them, explaining to them the scriptures, that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer to enter into his glory. In the appearance to the disciples narrated to us today, Jesus repeats it again: “it was necessary that all that was written in the law of Moses and in the Prophets and Psalms concerning me must be fulfilled.”
We, likewise, find it hard to accept that Jesus Christ had to go through what happened to open the way to God and to eternity. Couldn’t he have saved us differently, without suffering or pain? Perhaps he did, but God wanted it the way we know; the mystery of why we are gradually pondering and understanding it as his disciples did, with the light and strength of the Holy Spirit.
When the Cross, in any of its forms, becomes present in our lives we immediately wonder before God or before ourselves, wounded or terrified, why and for what. We find it impossible to understand and accept its meaning first. When failure and disappointment touch our existence, it is also not easy for us to fit it in and assimilate it. And sometimes it leads us adrift from depression and despair. However, when time passes, when we put it in the light of faith, when we allow Christ himself to explain it to us in the walk of life, we come to the conviction of “it was necessary” or “had to be so”. How many shadows light up when we realize that nothing and no one escapes the mysterious plans of God, who for everything has its place and time. And that going through dark and tortuous paths without letting go of the Father’s hand prepares us to live other bright and glorious moments. It certainly comes phenomenal to remember this well-known phrase again: “God writes straight with crooked lines.”
Peter’s call to repentance and conversion to the multitude who listened to him remains the Church’s call to all of us today. A call and an invitation to place in Christ our faith, our trust, our desire to live in a renewed way in the perspective of eternal life that He himself has conquered for all. St John, in the second reading, abounds in the insistence of turning away from sin, keeping the commandments of Christ; let us remember that His fundamental commandment is that we love Each other as He has loved us. Sin, therefore, is all that breaks, clouds, dilutes our love for God and our love for one’s neighbour. And we cannot believe or believe that we know Him, that we are his disciples, if we do not love each other heart and truth as only He loves us, with all the consequences derived. One of them is to live in the truth because the truth brings us closer to God and to our brothers and sisters, it makes us authentically free. Pretending to make lying or simulation the ordinary mode of coexistence, on a personal or collective level, leads directly to the slavery and self-destruction of the person and any social fabric.
Certainly in a world and moment as convulsive as the one we live, in visibly contradictory societies, we must ask much of the Lord to open our understanding to us, as well as to the disciples of today’s gospel. And not only to understand the scriptures, the mystery of his passion, death, and resurrection, the “was necessary” or the “had to be like this”; also, and above all, to understand the reality that surrounds us, the world in which we live, the society around us; to know meridianly how we should act, in the desire and challenge to be your faithful and credible witnesses, taking the necessary risks and avoiding sterile recklessness. May the strength of his Spirit and the light of his loving presence, which fills our hearts with peace and joy, always remain the coordinates in which we sustain our daily walk.
Stay with us, the afternoon is falling.
How will we find you when the day declines,
If your path is not our way?
Stop with us; the table is served,
warm the bread and aged the wine.
How will we know you’re a man among men,
if you don’t share our humble table?
Repair your body, and joy will drive us away
the darkness that weighs on man.
We saw the day break on your beautiful face,
and in the sun make its way across your forehead.
May the wind of night not put out the live fire
that left us your way in the morning.
Throw in our hands, lying down in your search,
the burning embers of the Spirit;
and clean, deep in man’s heart,
your image tarnished by guilt.