Homily Third Sunday of Easter Year B Witnesses

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Homily for Third Sunday of Easter Year B

First Reading: This is Peter’s second homily after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. What has taken place prior to these words is the healing of the crippled beggar at the Temple Gate. As a result of this healing, people began to praise God. Peter takes the opportunity to set the record straight, namely the man was healed in the name and power of Jesus, whom they had crucified. But the good news is that Jesus is risen.

On the cross Jesus prayed that the Father would forgive them for they did not know what they were doing. Here Peter says the people acted wrongly, but out of ignorance.  Because of the hardness of their hearts they refused to believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah.  They had heard his teachings, saw the signs and wonders he performed, but they didn’t connect the scriptures that prophesied about him.

In spite of this, Peter calls them to repent of their past deeds, so that their sins may be forgiven. Then they will be able to embrace the truth of God’s words and deeds and thus be saved. On Pentecost 3000 became believers and were baptized; now another 2000 are added.  Thus, the power of God to do mighty things in our lives once we repent of our sins is the message for us.

Second Reading: John picks up the theme of the First Reading, namely the power of God to forgive our sins. Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, is the expiation of our sins. Through his death and resurrection he delivered us from the consequences of sin, namely eternal death.

But there is further good news for us to hear. Even if we sin after we have been saved through the waters of baptism, Jesus’ reconciling grace is available to us in the Sacrament of Penance.  He did not die only to save us from the consequences of sin and alienation from God, but he has given us a share in his own divine life, which is a life of perfect love. As we love we remain one with and in him. If we do not love, we become a liar, not living in union with Jesus. But in love we too can become perfected in him. Wow! What a challenge! What good news!

Gospel: Each Gospel account gives different insights concerning the various appearances of Jesus after his Resurrection. Luke emphasizes that in spite of Jesus’ appearance to the Apostles, they were credulous. They couldn’t believe it. Similar to the time that Jesus was seen walking on water, the Apostles again thought they were seeing a ghost. Then, he said: Fear not, it is I. Here he says: Peace. Look at my hands and feet. He said the same thing to Thomas when he doubted. To further alleviate their doubts, he asked for and ate food to show that he was not a ghost.

Then he reminded them of the scriptures that prophesied his suffering, death and resurrection, plus the words he had spoken to them on otheroccasions.  In our first reading, Peter reminded the Jewish people of the scriptures that prophesied about the Messiah’s suffering, death and resurrection.

Jesus appeared to them on several occasions after his resurrection so that first they can be authentic witnesses of his resurrected life and secondly for them to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  Those who responded will share in his divine life and live in love.

We are called to be witnesses today, witnesses of faith in the Risen Lord, witnesses of the mercy of God through the forgiveness of sins, witnesses of love, which alone can make a difference in the life of others. This is good news!

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