1st Reading: Acts of the Apostles 3: 13-19
Jesus is called the “author of life” – what does that mean for you? Mary Birmingham points out that this term is a very ancient Christian term. The Greek word for ‘author’ means “captain” or “leader.” Jesus is the new leader, the new captain of life’s vessel, who leads the people, just like Moses, out of bondage into a new promised land – Jesus is the fulfillment of the liberation foreshadowed at the Exodus event – Jesus is the fulfillment of all that God has ever planned for humankind. (W&W Wrkbk Yr B, 363-364)
St. John of the Cross said, “The soul lives where it loves.” Think about that. Jesus lived here among us because of love. And that is why he died too. Are we supposed to feel this tremendous guilt that Jesus had to do this for us? I don’t know if God wants us to feel that way. Jesus only reaches out in love, only wants to repent and turn to him. He doesn’t want us wallowing in our guilt and self-loathing. He wants us to embrace the love. Let our souls live in that love. How can we be different living that way?
2nd Reading: 1 John 2: 1-5
What does it mean to you to call Jesus an “Advocate” – a parakletos ? An advocate is someone who pleads our case before a court of law – one who intercedes for us. It is someone whom we call to be by our side as our helper and counselor. It is someone who “lends his presence to his friends.” Jesus is this kind of friend. (Wm Barclay, The Letters of John and Jude, 36-38)
Jesus is also called our ‘expiation’ for sin – here we must be careful of the meaning. In the Jewish sense, sacrifice was used to restore our relationship with God. It was God forgiving us and providing the means of restoring our relationship with God. Scholars also point out that the word could be translated as ‘disinfection’: Jesus shows us what God is like and disinfects us from the taint of sin – from the darkness and bondage of sin. Jesus is the reconciliation, the means, by which God reassures us of His love. And as this writer, John, sees it – this work of Jesus is carried out not just for us, but for the whole world. The love of God is broader than the measures of our human mind. God’s salvation has wide enough arms for all. (Wm Barclay, The Letters of John and Jude, 39-40))
The Gospel: Luke 24: 35-48
From Living Liturgy, 2003, 120: Jesus “was made known” in the breaking of the bread and in repentance and forgiveness. Forgiveness, then, is an encounter with the risen Christ . . . it is our witness to the resurrection: “I forgive you.” Our belief is not some elite intellectual exercise but an embodied faith expressed in actions. We need to walk and talk like a forgiven people. Repentance-and-forgiveness is not just for Lent; it is Easter-activity! Forgiveness is a virtue that enables us not to allow past hurts to determine our decisions and actions in the here and now. Forgiveness opens up the space for creating together with the one forgiven a new future . . . It allows for new life – calls for new life and new possibilities.
Think of all this and pray for God’s Spirit to enliven and guide us as we are sent out at the end of our Eucharist “to love and serve the Lord.” (Birmingham, W&W Yr B, 365-373)
The gospels struggle with expressing the risen reality. It was not just another phase in the history of Jesus of Nazareth. In a real sense he was totally “other”, living now the indescribable life of God. And yet he was the same person and in some ways objectively identifiable. However, the resurrection was known principally by its fruits, the faith proclamation of unlettered fishermen. It changed people’s lives and continues to do so. To watch people move from a state of alienation to conversion and a new direction in life is the clearest proof of the risen Christ (Faley, R. Footprints on the Mountain, p, 309).
From Ron Rolheiser’s “In Praise of Skin (Blog 6/4/2000): In becoming flesh, God legitimizes skin, praises skin, enters it, honors it, caresses it, and kisses it. Among all the religions of the world, we stand out because, for us, salvation is never a question of stepping outside of skin, but of having skin itself glorified. That is why Jesus never preached simple immortality of the soul, but insisted on the resurrection of the body. For Christians, the body is not something from which one is ever meant to escape; rather, the body is to be understood as a temple of the holy spirit, a church, a sacred place where God can come and make a home.