Theme: BE WITNESSES OF THE RESURRECTION AND PREACH REPENTANCE FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS
- Acts 3:13-15. 17-19;
- Psalm 4:2. 4. 7. 9. R/ v. 7;
- 1 John 2:1-5
- Luke 24:35-48
A Happy Easter to all of you! Today is the 3rd Sunday of Easter, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us to be the witnesses of the resurrection and to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
The gospel today tells us that on the day of his resurrection the Lord appeared to his disciples and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ That is, shalom, salvation! A peace that the world cannot give! (Jn 14:27; CSB) And he showed them his hands and his feet. He also asked them to touch him for he has flesh and bones. He is not a ghost. A ghost has no flesh and bones. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! A joy that the world cannot take away! (Jn 16:22) He then ate a piece of baked fish in front of their eyes! Indeed, the Lord has risen from the dead!
More importantly, the gospel also tells us that, in fact, even before his death and resurrection, when he was still with his disciples, he had already told them that he had to fulfill the Law of Moses, the prophets and the psalms, that is, the scriptures, that the Messiah was to suffer and on the third day rise from the dead and that in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations beginning from Jerusalem. That is, from Jerusalem to Judea, to Samaria, and to the ends of the earth! (Ac 1:8)
And most importantly, the gospel also tells us that the disciples were to be his witnesses!
Indeed, the first reading tells us that the disciples were witnesses to his resurrection and preached repentance for the forgiveness of sins! The first reading tells us that Peter and the other apostles preached the good news of his resurrection:
“You killed the prince of life. God, however, raised him from the dead, and to that fact we are the witnesses.”! (Ac 3:15; SM)
They preached repentance for the forgiveness of sins:
“Repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out.” (Ac 3:19; SM)
Indeed, repentance is not only turning away from sin, but repentance is also turning away from the world, that is, from wealth, power, fame, etc., and more importantly, repentance is turning to God, and most importantly, repentance is turning to the God of Jesus Christ, a God of love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation; not a God of law, justice, punishment and damnation!
Thus the responsorial psalm tells us that salvation is a favor, a grace and a blessing, that is, salvation is a free gift! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:
“Lift up the light of your face on us, O Lord.” (Ps 4:7; SM)
That is, show us your favor, O Lord! (HCSB; NJBC) Salvation is a favor, a grace, a blessing and a free gift, because the God of Jesus Christ is a God of love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation!
Thus the second reading tells us that Jesus Christ is the sacrifice that takes away our sins, and not only our sins, but the sins of the whole world! Thus we read in the second reading:
“He is the sacrifice that takes our sins away, and not only ours, but the whole world’s.” (1 Jn 2:2; SM)
That is why we have to be witnesses of the resurrection and preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins, so that all may believe and be baptized and have their sins forgiven!
Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and our Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us to be witnesses of the resurrection and preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins! Again, a Happy Easter to all of you!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.