Homily Third Sunday of Easter "Do you love me?"

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Homily Third Sunday of Easter Year C

 

Reading 1: This is the second time that the Apostles were brought before the religious leaders of the people. The first was after Peter and john healed the crippled beggar at the Temple gate. Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit proclaimed that the healing took place in and by the name of Jesus, whom they had crucified. They were threatened and forbidden to speak about Jesus any more.

 

They and the others continued to give testimony that Jesus, the Messiah, has risen from the dead and is alive. The religious leaders tried to stop them. They were thrown into prison. But an angel released them and told them to go back to the Temple and share the Good News of salvation. When questioned by the religious authorities, their response was clear. We must obey God who has given us this mandate rather than men who opposed Jesus. Again, they testified to the resurrection.

 

Again, they were told to cease. They were flogged. They left rejoicing that they suffer dishonor for the sake of the name of Jesus. What made these ordinary men act this way? What brought about such a dramatic transformation in the lives of these men who abandoned Jesus in his time of need? What transformed them was the resurrection of Jesus and the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost. They saw the Risen Lord and they experienced the anointing power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Gospel: In John’s gospel this is the third appearance of the Risen Lord to his Apostles. The first time was on Easter Sunday, when Jesus revealed himself and conferred on them their mission in the poser of the Holy Spirit. The second time was a week later, when Jesus appeared to them with Thomas present. As a result of seeing the risen Lord, Thomas made the first public profession of faith in Jesus as Lord and God.

 

Remembering that Jesus had told them to go back to Galilee, they returned. While waiting, they decided to go fishing. After many tries, they caught nothing. Jesus, not recognized by them, tells them to cast their nets on the opposite side of the boat. In doing so, they caught a net full of large fish. It brought to mind the miraculous catch of fish they netted on first meeting Jesus.  In response, John, with the insight of faith cries out: “It is the Lord!”

 

Unlike that first experience in which Peter asked Jesus to depart from him for he was a sinner, this time Peter jumps into the water, swimming towards Jesus. He couldn’t wait for the boat to bring him to the shore. When the others came, no one asked who he was. They knew in faith that it was Jesus, the Lord. His resurrected body was different, but he was the same person who had made a difference in their lives.

 

As significant as the miraculous catch was, what follows is more important and applicable to us. Peter had denied Jesus three times. Jesus never brought that up because Peter was forgiven. That was the past. What is more important was for Peter to profess publicly his love for Jesus. So Jesus asked him three times: “Do you love me?” Peter answered: “Yes, I love you.” To each response Jesus confirmed Peter’s role as the Shepherd of his people. Then Jesus tells him that his love and service will lead him eventually to lay down his life for the Lord.

 

Jesus, today, asks us the same questions. “Do you love me?”  Even though we have sinned and turned away from God, Jesus asks us to profess our love and faith in him publicly.  Hopefully, our response is similar to Peter’s. Hopefully, our response will prepare us to live our lives in such a way as to bear witness to Jesus’ love and life in us.

 

Reading 2: This reading gives us a glimpse of the promise life of heaven. There will be countless number of people there. Hopefully, we will be among them. And what will they and we be doing?  We will be praising and worshipping God for what God has done in our life: bringing us to salvation and sharing with us his eternal life. We can never thank God enough. But we can show our gratitude now by living in a way that will one day enable us to fulfill our identity and purpose of existence.

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