Livonia, Michigan

Third Sunday of Easter

By the Faithful Disciple

It’s only been two weeks since Easter, but already the holiday can seem like another item checked off our to-do lists. It’s easy to get complacent as we go about our busy lives – marking celebrations, important dates and gatherings on the calendar. Today’s readings remind us that the Resurrection is not just a story or a metaphor about something ordinary that happened more than 2,000 years ago. It was so different and so shocking that it trembled the very earth, and nothing has been the same since! Luke describes the confusion the disciples felt when they first saw Jesus in his resurrected body. Here was their Lord and teacher, back from the dead, but not as a ghost or spirit as they might have expected: He was just as real as before. He was eating, speaking, touching, and interacting. And yet he was different. He could arrive in a locked room without using the door, pass among people unnoticed (as on the way to Emmaus), and give gifts of wisdom and insight directly to the disciples. Today’s Gospel offers Jesus’ explanation that these things were done to fulfill the promises God made to the

The fulfillment of God’s promises in Jesus, and his death and resurrection, was not meant to benefit only a few people. We, as his disciples, must spread the Good News that sin and death don’t have the last word. St. Peter gives us an inspiring example today when he speaks to the people. Look at how different he is from the man who denied Jesus three times! He boldly goes into the crowd – the same crowd that condemned Jesus to death – and preaches on what a gift we all have been given by Jesus’ sacrifice. Peter knows, and we know, that Jesus’ defeat of death means everything. We are freely offered salvation through Christ’s saving action. Like the members of that crowd, we’re invited to be witnesses to this great act of love, and to re-align our lives with God’s will. Like Peter, we can speak the Good News without fear.

How can we imitate Christ in the way he reached out to his disciples who were wracked with fear and doubt? Perhaps we know somebody who feels trapped by sin, or unworthy of good things, or a constant failure. Let’s be honest, sometimes that person is us! We all need encouragement and accompaniment from time to time. Find a way to be that encouragement for someone this week who’s having a tough time. You don’t have to fix their problems; just listen, let them know you care, and offer a sincere and hopeful encouragement that brighter days lie ahead.