THEME: JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED!
READINGS: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19/ 1 John 2:1-5 / Luke 24:35-48
3rd Sunday of Easter
The books of the New Testament, especially the four Gospels, contain records of several incidents or events which took place after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. These incidents or events have been recorded for two main interrelated aims: (a) to affirm that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead indeed; (b) so that we may believe in Him and be saved (cf. John 20:31). This homily highlights some of the records of the New Testament which affirm that Jesus Christ is risen indeed!
Firstly, to affirm that Jesus has risen from the dead, John’s Gospel tells us that Mary Magdalene and her friends saw an empty grave (John 20:1-5). Secondly, if the empty grave was not a sufficient proof of the Lord’s resurrection for Magdalene, the risen Jesus Christ appeared to her (John 20:11-18).
Thirdly, Jesus appeared not only to Mary Magdalene (whose testimony some disciples initially doubted), but to the large group of disciples as well. And to clear any doubt that the disciples were day-dreaming, the risen Lord appeared to the group of disciples several times: today’s gospel passage, for instance, narrates one of such appearances of the risen Lord (Luke 24:35-48).
Fourthly, to those disciples (e.g. Thomas) who would not rely on the testimony of even “senior” apostles like Peter and John, Jesus would eventually appear (John 20:26-29 and 21:1-5). Therefore, beloved, there is not only an empty grave, Jesus appeared several times after His resurrection.
Fifthly, to those who thought His appearance was that of a ghost, the risen Jesus would say: “touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bone as you can see I have” (Luke 24:39). If this is still not a sufficient proof for some people, then they should be informed that risen Jesus ate in the presence of the disciples (Luke 24:41-43)!
Sixthly, if like Thomas, some are still not sure of who appeared to the disciples: thinking that probably it was a stranger or an angel of the Lord who visited them, the risen Jesus proved that He who was crucified was the One who is risen, by showing the disciples the crucifixion marks on His hands, feet and side (Luke 24:39) – as if to say that the “surgical marks” prove that He was the very person who went through the surgery for your salvation!
Seventhly, if there are still people who are not satisfied with the evidences mentioned above, then they should be informed that after His resurrection, Jesus performed some of the miracles He had performed before His crucifixion. For instance, in His ministry Jesus performed a miracle of a big catch of fish by Peter and his colleagues (Luke 5:5-11); and after His resurrection, He performed a similar miracle (John 21:1-10). It was, therefore, no wonder that at the instance of the big catch of fish, the beloved disciple recognized the risen Lord and exclaimed: “It is the Lord” (John 21:7)!
Eight, some stories in the Acts of the Apostles give us an “icing on the cake”. That is, because Jesus is risen, miracles could be performed in His name. For instance, Peter and John performed a miracle in His name – they told the lame beggar: “silver and gold we have none, but in the name of Jesus get up and walk!” And instantly he was healed (Acts 3:6-8)! Beloved, Jesus is risen and alive indeed! Alleluia!
Beloved, did Jesus not predict that He would be arrested in Jerusalem and that He would suffer? He did. And did it not happen? It did happen. Did He not predict that He would be crucified? He did. And did it not happen? It did happen. And did He not predict His resurrection? He did. Why, then, do some people have a problem in accepting that He arose, if they do not have a problem with the fulfilment of the prediction of His arrest, suffering and death? Beloved the truth is: Jesus, Our Lord, is risen indeed! Alleluia! May our faith in the risen Lord be deepened and may He secure forever our eternal salvation! Amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis