BREAKING THE BREAD OF GOD’S WORD
3rd Sunday of Easter B – April 19, 2015
Peter was more than just understanding. He gave it to people who “acted out of ignorance.” He was tolerant and forgiving … like his Master, who “looked at him with love” even if he betrayed him thrice.
John, for his part, was more than just warm to people he endearingly calls his “children.” He writes to them, he says, “so that [they] may not commit sin.” But again, like Peter, he gives it to weak people like me and you, who sin seventy times seven times, for “we have an Advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the Righteous One.”
The Lord, in the Gospel according to Luke, was more than just encouraging. Alluding to the sad and dejected disciples on the way to Emmaus, Luke then reports a “sighting” of the Risen Christ, on the part of “startled and terrified” disciples gathered in a huddle.
To startled and terrified disciples, he gave reassurance: “Why are you troubled?” To doubting disciples whose doubts went far beyond Thomas’ famous doubt (“Unless I see; unless I touch, I won’t believe!”), he gave solid and resounding proof: “Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see!”
Now, friends and countrymen and fellow citizens of the world, tell me …
Who among us did not act out of ignorance in our lives ever?
Who among us have not committed sin after sin on account of human weakness?
Who among us did not feel terrified, afraid, and in doubt … ever?
Welcome to the world of mortals and men! Welcome to the realm of weak and frail humanity! Welcome to the world of sinners and saints who were redeemed once and for all by Him who suffered, died, and is risen!
For ever. For all women and men. For all time. He lives and reigns forever and ever!
But our love most times is not forever. We forget. We betray the Lord. Like Peter did. Our knowledge, for the most part, is never experiential, but merely theoretical. We know our catechism, but never live it. We know the Gospels, but never preach or proclaim it. We know by heart, but never with the heart.
Today, there is thrice-repeated challenge that we should consider.
You recognize the risen Lord, you say? Then by all means, “repent and be converted.” (1st Reading).
You claim to know the Lord? Then reflect on this: “Those who say, ‘I know him,’ but do keep his commandments are liars.”
You say you are a witness to the resurrection? Then, what about this? … “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me must be fulfilled.”
Recognition ought to lead to reformation. Knowing must lead to loving. Acknowledging the Lord Risen ought to pave the way to acclamation.
Then what ought we to do?
“You are witnesses of these things.”
Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us; make our hearts burn while you speak to us! Make us recognize you. Make us reform our lives.