5th April, 2015
Acts 10:34,37-43 ; Ps 117 1,2 16,17 22,23 ; Col 3:1-4 ; Jn 20 : 1-9
Most of the Gospels during Easter time are taken from St. John. Each of the evangelists takes a different perspective of the Easter story, and we know that different people had different memories of their encounters with the risen Christ. In time, these memories were shaped by various theological perspectives so they became even more difficult to harmonize. However, one theme runs through them all, and that is the element of surprise.
Despite the three years they spent with Jesus in his public ministry, we see on many occasions in the gospels, that at times the apostles just didn’t get it. They knew they were with someone really special, but not until the resurrection did things make sense.
In the Gospel of John we hear that “till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.”
Everyone who encountered the risen Lord was astonished, as well they might have been. Even though we have heard these stories many times during the Easter seasons, we should try to experience once again the surprise of the first followers of Jesus. As children of God, we also are called to be those witnesses with the responsibility to share the message of Jesus to all his people.
Whereas today’s Gospel reading states “he is risen,” our first reading declares boldly a message no less profound: “he is Lord of all.” The rest of Peter’s message authentically summarizes Jesus’ ministry, passion, and resurrection. Peter also emphasizes how Jesus’ followers are now witnesses called to testify that he is both judge of all and source of forgiveness for believers. In fact, verses 37-43 spotlight the major themes of John’s baptism, the Spirit’s presence, the devil’s oppression, the apostles’ testimony, Jesus’ resurrection, and the fulfilment of scripture.
As witnesses of Christ, we will experience many spectacular moments of grace with those whom we encounter. Like the apostles we might not recognise those moments immediately, but hopefully, with the light of the risen Christ guiding us, we will come to realise such moments as an encounter with God.
Let us ask the Lord to give us a share in his Resurrection. May he open us to the newness that transforms. May he make us men and women capable of remembering all that he has done in our own lives and in the history of our world. May he help us to feel his presence as the one who is alive and at work in our hearts.
I wish you all a very happy Easter! I encourage you all to be steadily and confidently Catholic, strong in faith, generous in love, firm in hope, for in that way, you embody the resurrection of our Saviour and spread his light that so shines in our midst. Amen.
Bishop Leslie Tomlinson