Please press the hightlighted to listen to the homily or download
Third Sunday – Year B – Easter
Readings: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; 1 Jn 2:1-5a; Lk 24:35-48.
Reading 1 (Acts 3:13-15, 17-19):
Peter said to the people:
“The God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus,
whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence
when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One
and asked that a murderer be released to you.
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
Now I know, brothers,
that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;
but God has thus brought to fulfillment
what he had announced beforehand
through the mouth of all the prophets,
that his Christ would suffer.
Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”.
Reading 2 (1 Jn 2:1-5a):
My children, I am writing this to you
so that you may not commit sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous one.
He is expiation for our sins,
and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.
The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep
Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments
are liars, and the truth is not in them.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
Gospel (Lk 24:35-48):
The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way,
and how Jesus was made known to them
in the breaking of bread.
While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have.”
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of baked fish;
he took it and ate it in front of them.
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
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them,
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.”
Written by: Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.
I. THEME: Christ’s resurrection is in God’s plan of salvation.
Was Jesus Christ really risen from the death? The answer for this question is very important because it shall determine our faith in God and the eternal life. St. Paul confirmed that if Christ wasn’t risen from the death, our faith is worthless. How can we know if Christ was really risen? The finding of the empty tomb isn’t enough to prove Christ’s resurrection because one could steal Jesus’ body and announce his resurrection as the Jews and even Jesus’ disciples had suspected. Today readings give us three strong proofs of Christ’s resurrection.
(1) In the Gospel, St. Luke reported Jesus’ appearance to his disciples and his invitation to touch the marks on his body. He also ate a piece of baked fish in front of them to prove that he is really resurrected. Besides of this appearance, all the evangelists reported many times Jesus appeared to his disciples, such as: with Mary Magdalene, with the women coming back from the empty tomb, with two disciples on the way to Emmaus, with ten apostles without Thomas, with eleven apostles including Thomas, with the apostles when they went fishing, and with the disciples before Jesus’ ascension. The total of Jesus’ appearances are at least eight times in the Gospels.
(2) In the first reading, as also in the Gospel, Peter and Jesus reminded the audience to read carefully the Scripture and Jesus’ teaching and foretelling to know that Scripture has witnessed for Jesus. For examples, the Messiah was borned from David’s lineage at Bethlehem (Mic 5:4); God’s Spirit anointed and sent him to preach the Good News to the poor, to heal the sich and to set prisoners free (Isa 61:1); the Messiah must greatly suffer to redeem people’s sins (Isaiah’s Four Songs of God’s Suffering Servant; the Messiah must die but shall be resurrected on the third day (Hos 6:2). God “will not abandon me to Sheol, nor let your faithful servant see the pit” (Psa 16:10).
(3) In the first and second reading, the apostles and the faithful courageously witnessed for Christ’s resurrection. They used Jesus’ name to preach the Good News and to heal the sick. The first generation of the faithful put everything they had in common so that no one would lack of anything. Moreover, the lasting of the Church in more than two thousand years with countless of people who witnessed for Christ by their lives, and the baptism of hundred thousand of new faithful every year forcefully proved Christ’s resurrection.
With these three proofs, Christ’s resurrection is certainly happened. Our faith in the resurrection of our body and the eternal life were built up on a firm foundation which is more solid than building a house on the rock.
1/ Reading I: Jesus’ Death and Resurrection are in God’s plan of salvation.
1.1/ Human mistake: As a human being, no one is free from wrong judgment and sins. St. Peter reminded the sin of the Sandherin and the whole Jews had committed in Jesus’ Passion and Death: “The God of Abraham, (the God) of Isaac, and (the God) of Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has glorified his servant Jesus whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence, when he had decided to release him.You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you.The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.”
1.2/ God’s plan of salvation: Since people can’t do nothing to compensate for their sins, God, out of His immense love, let His son to suffer (Isa 52:13-53:12), died and resurrected (Hos 6:1-2) to redeem people’s sins (Jn 1:29), and guarantee them an eternal life (Isa 49:6, Jn 6:39-40). Therefore, Peter confirmed that the Jews’ wrong judgment and condemnation of Jesus to dead is in God’s plan: “Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;but God has thus brought to fulfillment what He had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that His Messiah would suffer.” God can draw good results from human mistakes and this shows His omnipotence.
The important thing isn’t in blaming for our sins, but in recognizing our weakness and repenting so that we shall not make a same mistake and endure terrible results, as Peter invited people to do: “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”
2/ Reading II: Christ has died and risen to wipe away sins and to set people free from eternal death.
2.1/ Christ is the expiated offering for sins: Continuing Peter’s thought in the first reading, St. John also advised his faithful about the existence of sins and the need to repent to receive forgiveness: “My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.He is expiation for our sins; and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.” Since we have Christ to forgive our sins, we should not be slaves for sins and death; but to repent and to confess so that we can be forgiven.
2.2/ To love God is to carefully keep His commandments: According to St. John, to know God isn’t merely in words, but must be expressed in deeds as Jesus also taught his disciples. John expressed this belief as follows: “The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments.Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with him.” Of course, St. John didn’t deny human weakness; however, they must try to live according to God’s teaching so that they don’t have to suffer terrible results of sins. If they felt due to weakness, Christ is always ready to forgive them through the sacrament of Reconciliation.
3/ Gospel: Jesus’ appearances and the Scripture are two witnesses of the Paschal Mystery.
3.1/ Christ appeared to his apostles: The evengelist Luke paid a special attention to the details of the Resurrected Christ in today passion.
(1) The Resurrected Christ had a form so the apostles could recognize him: When one sees an appearance of a death, he might have the same feeling as the apostles, “they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost.” However, as in the report of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, Jesus must have a human form so that the two could recognize him, and the hands to break the bread.
(2) The Resurrected Christ had a body so the apostles could touch him: Seeing the disciples’ attitude, Jesus said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.”And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.
(3) The Resurrected Christ could eat as a human being: “While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”They gave him a piece of baked fish;he took it and ate it in front of them.” A ghost can’t eat as Jesus did in front of the disciples’ eyes because it doesn’t have a human body.
3.2/ Jesus explained Scripture to his apostles: Then Jesus 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 and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.
According to Jewish tradition, the Scripture has three parts: the law, the prophet and the psalms. All these three parts verified that Jesus is God’s Messiah.
(1) Scripture is fulfilled: In the four Gospels as well as the Acts, there are many times they mentioned, “as the prophets announced” or “so the Scripture is fulfilled.” Due to limited space, we can only illustrate a few examples for these three parts.
– The law: (Jn 6:45) illustrated (Deut 18:15): “A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kinsmen; to him you shall listen.”
– The prophet: (Mt 8:17 and 12:18) repeated (Isa 42:1-4, 49:1-6, 50:4-9, 52:13-53:12) about God’s Suffering Servant. (Mt 12:40) repeated (Hos 6:2 và Jon 2:1): “He will revive us after two days; on the third day he will raise us up, to live in his presence.” (Mt 21:5) illustrated (Zech 9:9) about the humble king: “Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is he, Meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass.”
– The Psalms: (Mk 12:10) illustrated (Psa 118:22): “Have you not read this scripture passage: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.’” (Jn 10:35) illustrated (Psa 82:6 and Exo 7:1): “If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, and scripture cannot be set aside.” (Jn 13:18) illustrated (Psalm 41:10) about Judah’s betrayal: “I am not speaking of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen. But so that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.’”
(2) The duty of the apostles: After confirming his disciples by appearances and explanation of Scripture, Jesus commanded them to read this to all people: “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third dayand that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We should never let mass media, human arguments and worldly temptation shake our faith in Christ’s resurrection and the eternal life, because we have so many proofs and witnesses for this fact.
– When we say that we believe in Christ’s resurrection, we must also practice what he teaches us, such as: the presence of sins and the need of forgiveness; suffering is the way of Jesus’ disciples; and we must keep his commandments.
– We must believe and read the whole Scripture, can’t discard a Book or a part of a Book because the whole Scripture relates to God’s plan of salvation. Christ is the one who brings this plan to its fulfillment.