Octave of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 3:11-26
As the crippled man who had been cured clung to Peter and John, all the people hurried in amazement toward them in the portico called “Solomon’s Portico.” When Peter saw this, he addressed the people, “You children of Israel, why are you amazed at this, and why do you look so intently at us as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety? 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. And by faith in his name, this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong, and the faith that comes through it has given him this perfect health, in the presence of all of you. Now I know, brothers and sisters, 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, and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment and send you the Christ already appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old. For Moses said: A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kin; to him you shall listen in all that he may say to you. Everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be cut off from the people. “Moreover, all the prophets who spoke, from Samuel and those afterwards, also announced these days. You are the children of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors when he said to Abraham, In your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed. For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways.”
Gospel: Lk 24:35-48
The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way, and how they had come to recognize him 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.”
REPENT AND HAVE PEACE: The disciples are startled and terrified when Jesus appears to them and think that it is a ghost. They are troubled. Soon after He shows them the hands and the feet, their eyes are open again and they are happy at the reunion. Even after all they had seen, their eyes were still not fully open. This is the same with us. We spend times reading the Bible and even go to Church. Many times we still find ourselves going back to our previous lives of sin. Jesus never gives up on us; He still follows us revealing Himself to us. Let us repent and keep searching for Him in faith. For it is only in this faith that we shall be able to do great things like the apostles are doing in the Acts of the Apostles. If we believe in Jesus, we shall have true peace.
Prayer: Jesus, forgive my disbelieve.
MINDS OPENED TO UNDERSTAND: The Risen Lord helps his troubled friends to find answer to the many questions in their hearts. There is continuity between what he had told them while he was still with them and the new context of the resurrection. He is the fulfilment of the law and the prophets. Jesus opens their minds to understand the Scriptures. Our Christian faith is not founded on dreams of some disordered minds but on Jesus Christ who shared our humanity, and in dying conquered death and rose again. It is in his name that his empowered followers are able to help others out of their confusion by calling them to repentance for the forgiveness of their sins. They are witnesses to this transformative event.
MYSTERY OF THE RESURRECTION: Resurrection is at the core of our faith. As St Paul tells us: “And if Christ has not been raised, then empty (too) is our preaching; empty, too, your faith” (1Cor 15:14). However, the nature and the details of the resurrection are beyond reason. Think of these questions: If Jesus rose with his body, how did he enter through closed doors? What happened to the physical body at the Ascension? If he ascended into heaven with the physical body, is heaven a physical space? If he had not risen with the body, what happened to the body in the tomb? How did he eat as he does in the gospel text of today? How did Thomas touch him? Living with the paradoxes of religion is mature faith. Let this Easter tide invite us to contemplate the mystery, to go beyond rational details to the depth of the meaning of Resurrection, and the meaning of our existence.