14TH April 2024

Lectionary Readings: Acts 3:13-15.17-19; Ps 4; I John 2:1-5; Luke 24:35-48.

Theme:  Passed from death to a new life.

The scripture readings for today illustrate three different ways in which the early Christian communities tried to express their understanding of Easter. In our first reading, Peter urges the people of Jerusalem to repent for any part they played in the death of the innocent Jesus. He asserted that the Messiah’s sufferings brought about the reconciling power of God in order that people’s sins would be forgiven. The reading from the first letter of John stresses the duty of those who claim to know the Lord Jesus and that we are under an obligation to obey God’s commandment of love since Jesus intercedes for our sins. The gospel is almost the final passage of Luke’s gospel.

        In the gospel for today the disciples become convinced that Jesus has been raised to new life, but it took time before they could accept this new reality, that of the Risen Jesus. The spiritual journey of the apostles towards faith is the image of what each of us must go through. We pass through many doubts and uncertainties before we can ‘see’ the Risen Lord. Whenever we gather together in prayer, He is among us.

      The passage starts with the two who had encountered Jesus on the road to Emmaus who had themselves moved from despair to the realization that Jesus had risen from the dead. They shared with the apostles that they had recognized him “In the breaking of the bread (Lk 24:36), as Christians have experienced ever since.

      Jesus appeared to those  gathered together and addressed them in the words of the lovely Jewish greeting ”Peace be with you,” but they thought they were seeing a ghost, so Jesus offers them  proof, “ Look at my hands and my feet it’s really me: touch and see…”(v.39) They still do not believe [‘from joy” (v.41) as Luke charitably remarks] so Jesus offers further proof. He eats “a bit of grilled fish” before their eyes. Luke insists on the physical experience of the Risen Lord. The evangelist wants to tell us that the Risen Lord is different, unrecognizable, but not another person, He is the same Jesus whom the disciples used to touch and with whom they shared meals.

      Then Jesus reminds them of what he had always said while with them,” Everything written in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms about me had to be fulfilled.” (v.44) Luke comments “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” We need divine revelation to see the predictions about Jesus in the scriptures. Jesus is a wonderful teacher and uses a rabbinical method known as haraz i.e the stringing together of scripture quotations around a theme like pearls on a necklace.

    The last part of the Gospel (44-48) contains the great announcement found in all three of the readings of today: “That repentance and forgiveness of sins are to be proclaimed in his name to all nations”. The gospel ends, turning to us, as well as to the dumbfounded apostles, “you are witnesses of these things.” It is important that we live out our resurrection faith against the bleak background of our world.

 For Reflection and Discussion: 1. When do you, like the disciples, find it difficult to believe? 2.The Risen Jesus is patient with his struggling disciples. With whom might you need to be more patient? 3.Do I witness to my resurrection faith?      

 Bibliography: African Bible(Paulines, Kenya); Armellini F Celebrating the Word Year B (Paulines Pub. Africa 1993); Cunningham PA Proclaiming Sabbath (Liturgical Pres Collegeville, Minnesota 1995);Levine A-J& Brettler M.Z The Jewish Annotated New Testament (Oxford Univ. Press 2011); King N. Scriptural Reflections (The Catholic Bookshop, Cape Town, South Africa)

This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Marie Andre Mitchell, SNDdeN M.Th., Johannesburg South Africa. Bat Kol alumna 2001- ’02,’04,’06,’08,’09,’10,’14,’18


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