April 15, 2018
Deacon Bill Hough
Our Scripture readings, especially during the Easter season, are meant to always remind us of the Paschal mystery – the life, suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Today, by our celebration of the Mass we not only remember the life of Jesus, but we participate in His presence here and now in the Word and in the Eucharist.
Our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles takes place right after Peter has healed a crippled man at the entrance of the temple. Peter’s question to the observers is, “Why are you amazed at this?” He begins to explain that it is not through his own power that this man has been healed but the power of Jesus – the Savior and God of their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
And Jesus is still present and acting through the Apostles. Peter encourages them to be converted and repent so that their sins may be forgiven. Peter’s own life is a testimony to the love and forgiveness of God.
In our second reading from the first Letter of Saint John, we are reminded again of the mercy of God. Jesus is our Advocate who takes away the sins of the whole world. If we truly know Jesus, we will live in right relationship with Him. His love for us will be reflected in the way we show our love for others.
It doesn’t mean we won’t ever sin. But by sharing in God’s life, we will always try to follow His will. And His will is that we lead moral and ethical lives.
In our Gospel reading today, Jesus Himself gives testimony to the meaning of the Paschal mystery. The entire 24th chapter of the Gospel of Luke explains it all. It begins with the empty tomb. From there we see the appearance of Christ to the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Today, before He leaves to return to the Father, Jesus appears to His disciples who were startled and terrified (desconcertados y llenos de temor) and thought they were seeing a ghost (fantasma).
His question to them is like Peter’s question to the Jews in our first reading, “Why are you amazed?”. Jesus asks them, “Why are you troubled?”
Finally, when Jesus shows them the wounds on His hands and His feet and allows them to touch Him, they became overwhelmed with joy. Jesus is indeed alive. Everything that has been written about Him has been fulfilled.
Then Christ does three things that are very familiar to us today. First, He wants to share a meal with his disciples. Next, He opens their minds (les abrio le entendimiendo) to understand the Scriptures. Then, he gives them their mission to preach repentance, for the forgiveness of sins to all the nations.
As I said, we are not here just to remember Jesus. When we come to Mass, He becomes present to us today. Like the disciples, we hear His words in Scripture and He opens our minds to their meaning in our lives. We share a meal with Him in the Eucharist. We do more than touch Him – Christ becomes part of us.
Pope Francis states the Paschal mystery very simply. The Good News of Jesus is this:
Jesus Christ loves you; He gave His life to save you; and now He is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen, and free you.
What does He free us to do? Today Jesus gives us the same mission He gave to the disciples. Let us go out to all the nations and let them see the evidence of our love for God by the way we love each other.