Homily Third Sunday of Easter Year A He is Risen

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Homily: Third Sunday of Easter Year A

Reading 1: What is the context of this reading? Pentecost has occurred. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter preaches his first sermon. The focus is Jesus Christ. Who is he? He was a man sent by God in the power of the Holy Spirit with signs and wonders as his credentials. Jesus revealed God’s plan of salvation and life. But the people rejected him and had him crucified.

But the good news is Jesus is risen and exalted at the right hand of the Father. He promised to pour out his Holy Spirit to continue the world of God. Peter proclaims that he the others are witnesses of his signs, teachings, his death, his risen life, his ascension and the coming of the Spirit. The culmination of Peter’s first sermon was proclaiming Jesus as both Lord and Messiah.

As a result of Peter’s compelling words, something happened in the hearers. His message was simple and straightforward. But it spoke the truth into the hearts of those who saw the power of the Holy Spirit and this truth set them free. They wanted to experience what made a difference in the lives of the Apostles. When asked what they must do, Peter answered with a simple process: repent of your sins, believe in Jesus and receive the baptism that will set you free, and desire the gift of the Spirit in your lives. Three thousand responded immediately. They encountered the risen Lord and the Holy Spirit in the proclamation of Peter.

Gospel: Encountering the risen Lord was essential to the Easter message. But this encounter must be open to Jesus in the present moment. The two disciples were still living with their encounter with Jesus prior to his death. Like them, how many of us find ourselves disappointed or disillusion because our encounter with Jesus is based on a past experience, not the present reality.

For them to have a new encounter Jesus breaks open the word of God, showing how the Son of Man was to suffer, die and rise again. They encountered the present Jesus in the Scriptures. “Were not our hearts burning within us as he explained the scriptures?” But the scriptures were not enough alone. It was in the breaking of the bread that their eyes of faith were opened to the present reality of Jesus, the risen Savior. This new encounter compelled them to go back to Jerusalem with new joy and conviction to witness their recent experience to the Eleven.

Is our life based on a past encounter or is it open with anticipation to a new, present encounter with Jesus? Today, did we hear the scriptures with an indifferent attitude even a distracted one, or did we come with expectation to encounter the Lord, as he is present to us in a fresh new way in his word? Will our eyes of faith be opened to the presence of the Lord in the breaking of the bread? When we leave, will we witness what we experienced to others?

If not, why not? Is it because we were not expecting or rather we are still living on a past encounter, like trying to survive on bread and water, when there is a sumptuous banquet ready for us?

Reading 2: Paul reminds us of the central message of Jesus. We have been ransomed from our life of sin by the precious blood of Christ, who as an innocent Lamb, was sacrificed on the cross for our sakes. He was raised from the dead and is forever glorified. Because of him and what he did, we believe and hope in God.

But this is not enough. We must conduct our lives in a way that reflects our acceptance and embracing of the new life God has given us in baptism and confirmation. Because we believe, that faith and hope is to be lived out in deeds. We know that God is an impartial judge, who will judge us accordingly. He knows our heart.

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