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THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER (Year B) 18th April 2021

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke (24:35-48)
Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the
breaking of the bread. While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to
them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands
and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as
you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their
joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They
gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. Then he said to them, “These
are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you-that everything written about me in the law of
Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the
scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead
on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all
nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.


In today’s Gospel reading Jesus instructs his disciples to be his witnesses to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. And that’s what we find St. Peter doing in today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles. You see, witnessing to Jesus’ ideas means more than telling people about the life of this great man, Jesus of Nazareth, who lived over 2,000 years ago, anyone can do that. Witnessing to Jesus means more than testifying that Jesus has risen – even the soldiers guarding the tomb did that. Really testifying to Jesus is testifying by our lives that the power of the risen Jesus has touched and transformed us in the most remarkable way imaginable. It is letting Jesus speak through us to other people – to be an Easter people. St. John in the second reading today points out what that implies; ‘We can be sure that
we know God only by abiding by his commandments’. In such a person says John, ‘God’s love comes to perfection.’ (1John 2:5) Jesus summarized all commandments to just two, love God and love one another.
Love is the most powerful force in the world and to experience someone who has been transformed by the power of the risen Christ is awe-inspiring. Remember Gay Byrne’s Late Late interview with Mother Teresa – even Gay, a seasoned broadcaster was dumbfounded by the encounter, as were so many others. The most powerful witness to Jesus often takes place without the people involved being aware of it. Recall how it was related of the pagan onlookers who met-up with the first Christians, ‘how they loved one another’ – sharing their livelihood and providing for the poor regardless of race or creed. So, witnessing to Jesus is testifying by our lives that the power of the risen Christ has touched and transformed us. We know that abstract ideas rarely move people, but let a person come forward capable of speaking to the heart, let truth flow from that person’s life and let the person’s power be matched by the equal gift of love, then people will listen and the dawn of better days will brighten our skies.
Those of us who belong to Jesus are really on a journey, ‘on the way’. Our constant companion on the road of life is Jesus and those we meet upon the way are grace-filled opportunities for witnessing to the truth, peace, justice and the love for which he died. We are born to tell our story on the way and through sharing of experiences, insight is gained and lives are changed. We are all on the road to Emmaus, at first blinded by despair, still learning that Jesus is there on the road with us. He opens our minds and hearts to know that suffering of our lives is in fact the path to glory. We see Jesus and one another in the love made known in the Scriptures and in the breaking of bread.
One final thought , when we receive Our Blessed Lord in the Eucharist, the priest or minister proclaims, ‘ Body of Christ.’ The communicant responds, ‘Amen.’ Scholars tell us that the word ‘Amen’ in Hebrew means ‘truth’, it’s the truth. So, what we have received is the Lord of Integrity, of Truth. Henceforth we cannot be false to any man or woman.

Kevin Lyon
Archdeacon of Glendalough


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