Liturgy of the Sunday

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Third Sunday of Easter


First Reading

Acts 3,13-15.17-19

It is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, who has glorified his servant Jesus whom you handed over and then disowned in the presence of Pilate after he had given his verdict to release him. It was you who accused the Holy and Upright One, you who demanded that a murderer should be released to you while you killed the prince of life. God, however, raised him from the dead, and to that fact we are witnesses; 'Now I know, brothers, that neither you nor your leaders had any idea what you were really doing; but this was the way God carried out what he had foretold, when he said through all his prophets that his Christ would suffer. Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out,

Psalmody

Psalm 4

Antiphon

Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord.

When I call, answer me O God of justice;
from anguish you released me,
have mercy and hear me!

O men, how long will your hearts be closed,
will you love what is futile and seek what is false?

It is the Lord who grants favours to those whom he loves;
the Lord hears me whenever I call him.

Fear him; do not sin:
ponder on your bed and be still.

Make justice your sacrifice
and trust in the Lord.

'What can bring us happiness?' many say
Lift up the light of your face on us, O Lord.

You have put into my heart a greater joy
than they have from abundance of corn and new wine.

I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Second Reading

1 John 2,1-5a

My children, I am writing this to prevent you from sinning; but if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the upright. He is the sacrifice to expiate our sins, and not only ours, but also those of the whole world. In this way we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says, 'I know him' without keeping his commandments, is a liar, and truth has no place in him. But anyone who does keep his word, in such a one God's love truly reaches its perfection. This is the proof that we are in God.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 24,35-48

Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread. They were still talking about all this when he himself stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you!' In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, 'Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts stirring in your hearts? See by my hands and my feet that it is I myself. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.' And as he said this he showed them his hands and his feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, as they were dumbfounded; so he said to them, 'Have you anything here to eat?' And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes. Then he told them, 'This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms, was destined to be fulfilled.' He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, 'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

The Risen Lord does not appear only once; he continues to manifest himself. He finds his disciples unbelieving, bewildered, full of doubts, easily taken back by the life they always knew. They mistake him for a ghost. Jesus knows the weakness of our life and how easily we are perturbed by evil, uncertainty, a sense of the end, and difficulties. Evil hardens the heart and counsels us not to be taken in by any passion for others, to preserve only what we are and have. We judge without loving for there is no more love: it ended, it was lost, it was taken away.
The day of Easter cannot end. The darkness of the night does not prevail, sadness can find joy and true hope. They were speaking about these things when Jesus "himself" stood among them and greeted them again saying: "Peace be with you." Jesus does not seem scandalized by their unbelief. He gives peace to the ones who are confused, uncertain, doubtful, stubbornly attached to their convictions, slow of heart. How much we need this peace! Peace is communion and joy of living. Peace is a new heart that regenerates what is old; peace is the energy that gives back life and hope to our regular life; peace is someone who understands me deeply, even what I can't explain, someone who does not humiliate me in my weakness and sin but continues to want me close to him and to talk to me. Peace is someone on whom I can count. Peace is not the small individual success and the satisfaction of pride. Jesus says peace to you who are uncertain, contradictory, doubtful, stubborn. Jesus is the peace that wins every division, the peace of the heart that frees from the many burdens that make us closed in and sad. He is the peace between heaven and the heart.
The disciples are amazed and terrified. They were speaking about him and yet they cannot recognize him. They cling to their doubts. There is a subtle temptation in doubt that becomes the way not to ever choose, and to nurture an inner reservation. Doubt comes on its own, but when we cultivate and entertain it, it ends up making us believe ourselves to be smart and intelligent, but in the end saddens us. Then Jesus is like a ghost, and ghosts scare us. They are unreal and intangible presences. Jesus had already appeared to them, and yet they have a hard time to believe in him and to recognize him as alive and present among them. He seems a ghost, unreal and virtual, all feelings and not a body. But Jesus continues to love them, he "opens their mind to understand the scriptures." Indeed, only by listening to the Gospel does the heart open to understanding. Our mind opens to understanding only by welcoming and meeting Jesus and not a ghost. Not only does Jesus want to free his disciples from fear and terror. Not only does he want to show concretely the power of resurrection. He asks us to be his witnesses, to become men and women who hope and believe that every wound can be healed. He wants us to be passionate witnesses and not uncertain and prudent officials; he wants us to be joyful witnesses and not fearful disciples protected by closed doors, witnesses who live what they communicate, and by communicating it learn how to live it. Witnesses are needed who can oppose the law of the impossible that knows everything but kills hope. We are invited to become witnesses who believe in the power of the love that makes new what is old and recalls from death to life.