Third Sunday of Easter: Year B
Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
Psalm 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9
1 John 2:1-5A
The Tangibility of Resurrection
Several years ago, there was a heated discussion among the Anglican community about the bodily resurrection of Jesus. There were some who suggested that Jesus rose from the dead spiritually not physically, while most argued in the traditional and orthodox teaching of bodily resurrection. Sacred Scripture authenticates the reality of bodily resurrection. In today’s gospel, taken from Luke, the disciples think that they are encountering a ghost when they see Jesus. Christ himself points out that this is not the case. He reminds his followers that ghosts do not have flesh and bone. To prove the point, Jesus asks for something to eat and eats it in front of them.
Today’s gospel account is teaching us that resurrection is tangible. The resurrection is not a mere spiritual notion. Resurrection is real and transformative – it takes death and transforms it for all eternity. Jesus fulfills what was said of him in the Scriptures and opens the hearts of his post-resurrection listeners to the message of life. The risen Christ predicts and gives witness to what he had said about dying and rising on the third day. Jesus now reminds us that his mission of repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, has already begun in Jerusalem and must now be proclaimed to the ends of the earth. As Peter reminded the people, “The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses….Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.” He is obviously reminding us that we must respond to the gift of the resurrection by taking action and changing our hearts because of this mystery revealed.
Jesus did not rise again just to prove that what he said would come to pass. The resurrection of Jesus is the crowning of his life that paves our way to salvation. Jesus reveals the resurrection so that we may continue his redemptive work here on earth. What is that redemptive work? It is a journey into transformation, using Jesus as the guide and the shepherd in this transforming work in progress. The message of the gospel is clearly given credence in Jesus rising from the dead. His message for repentance continues as the Church journeys through time. The call to conversion still remains. The wisdom and healing of Christ still needs to be proclaimed, so that all may know the saving power of Jesus Christ in their lives. The resurrection is tangible for us in the way that we encounter the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. It is at the altar that we take, bless, and break the body of Christ, for all who gather in His name. At the moment of Holy Communion, we tangibly accept the gift of Christ who continues to offer us his body and blood. The tangibility of the resurrected Christ is discovered among the poor, the sinner, the outcast and the forgotten, in the vast wastelands of humanity that await transformation and attention. Once we respond to the need, the resurrected Christ is plainly seen in the Mystical Body of Christ – that is, in each one of us responding to the needs of the world.
Image: “Resurrection of Christ”/Noël Coypel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
We pray: Help us to see clearly the vision that you have set before us. May we touch the reality of the resurrection among those we reach out to in love. Let our minds and hearts be open to signs of your resurrection among us. Increase our strength to do your will, bringing others to your wisdom and to the gift of repentance. We ask this through you, the Christ, the Risen Lord. Amen.
Why were the disciples terrified when encountering Jesus?
How does Jesus reassure his followers?
How is the resurrection a tangible gift for you personally?
How can you be a witness to the presence of the Risen Christ in your life?
In what ways can you offer Christ’s peace to your relationships/the world?
Where do you see God’s promise in your life right now?
How will your future be shaped by the promise give to you?
“Easter is a time of joy — a joy not confined to this period of the liturgical year, but to be found really and fully in the Christian’s heart. For Christ is alive. He is not someone who has gone, someone who existed for a time and then passed on, leaving us a wonderful example and a great memory.
No, Christ is alive. Jesus is the Emmanuel: God with us. His resurrection shows us that God does not abandon his own. He promised he would not: “Can a woman forget her baby that is still unweaned, pity no longer the son she bore in her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” And he has kept his promise. His delight is still to be with the sons of men.
Christ is alive in his Church. “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” That was what God planned: Jesus, dying on the cross, gave us the Spirit of truth and life. Christ stays in his Church, its sacraments, its liturgy, its preaching — in all that it does.
In a special way Christ stays with us in the daily offering of the holy Eucharist. That is why the Mass is the centre and source of christian life. In each and every Mass the complete Christ, head and body, is present. Per Ipsum et cum Ipso et in Ipso. For Christ is the way; he is the mediator; in him we find everything. Outside of him our life is empty.”
— “Christ is passing by” St. Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)