THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
In the first reading, Peter shows great courage in confronting the leaders and people for their role in the death of Jesus. In the second reading, John says that authentic love is shown by obedience to the commandments. In the Gospel, Luke shows that while the risen Christ is different (he comes through locked doors), he is also like the Christ whom the Apostles knew prior to the Resurrection: he has physical wounds and he eats food. All three readings show that belief in the Resurrection should lead to a repentance of sin.
FIRST READING: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
The Acts of the Apostles contains five speeches by Peter. Today’s verses—an excerpt from his second speech—follow the healing of a crippled man which gives Peter a unique opportunity to preach about Jesus.
Peter begins by placing blame on his hearers and their leaders for the death of Jesus whom the God of their ancestors has now raised from the dead. But then Peter tells his audience that they have acted out of ignorance, implying that had they known better, they would have acted accordingly. Now, through the witness of the disciples, they do know better and ought to reform their lives through repentance of sin and to come to believe in Jesus as the Messiah.
SECOND READING: 1John 2:1-5
Ideally, as Christians, we should not sin but if we do, we should be comforted by the fact that we have an advocate in Jesus who died for our sins. John states emphatically that true knowledge of Christ will lead one to keep the commandments. In stating this, John is responding to a widely held belief that a superior type of knowledge is sufficient for salvation and that such knowledge excuses one from adherence to moral norms.
GOSPEL: Luke 24:35-48
This Gospel follows on the heels of the famous Emmaus story during which the two disciples experience Jesus in the breaking of the bread. As the two disciples describe their fascinating encounter with Jesus, he suddenly reappears to them. But they are scared and have no idea who he is. They think he is a ghost. Jesus tries to bring them to faith by appealing to their “sense of touch”: “Look at my hands and feet,” and to their reason: “Ghosts have no flesh.” Jesus opens their minds to their own writings in the law, the prophets and psalms, and how all of these point to his coming. Then the disciples are commissioned to go forth and be his witnesses: “Penance and remission of sins must be preached to all nations.”
Even though the two disciples had walked with Jesus they didn’t recognize him as he spoke to them. What do you think Luke is telling us?