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Breaking Open the Word

3rd Sunday of Easter
April 14, 2024

00:00 / 01:30


The entire first reading today is a part of a sermon preached by Peter.  The truth being proclaimed here is that God’s will for us will be carried out, despite any and all attempts to stop it. Thus, the writer’s purpose here is not to condemn those who were responsible for Jesus’ death, but to show them that all things come to pass in accord with God’s will, and that Jesus is the fulfillment of the ancient messianic promises. Jesus is referred to here as the Holy and Righteous One.

In the second reading, John answers doubts raised by the heretics of his time, asserting the fundamental Christian doctrine that Jesus’ death was a sacrifice offered as expiation for our sins. In the reading the point is made that despite the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, there is still sin in the world. Despite the presence of sin, there is never ending forgiveness available to all who seek it.

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Gospel Explained

On the third Sunday of Easter, we continue to hear Gospel accounts of Jesus’ appearances to his disciples following his Resurrection. Today’s reading, taken from the Gospel of Luke, follows immediately after the report of Jesus' appearance to his disciples on the road to Emmaus. This is the event being recounted by the disciples in the opening verse of today’s Gospel.

Consistently in the reports of Jesus’ post-Resurrection appearances, Jesus greets his disciples with the words, “Peace be with you.” This is a most appropriate greeting. The disciples have witnessed the death of someone they loved, and they now fear for their own lives as well. Peace is what they need more than anything else. Jesus often connects this greeting of peace with another gift—forgiveness. In today’s Gospel, this connection is made in the final verses.

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Today's Theme

Today’s Gospel describes Jesus’ appearance on the evening of His Resurrection to his apostles who were in the locked Upper Room, the Cenacle.  By inviting his apostles to look closely at him and touch him, Jesus removed any fear that they were seeing a ghost. He instilled confidence in them that he loved them by greeting them: “Peace be with you.”  By eating a piece of broiled fish before their eyes, he convinced them that they were not dreaming or having a mere vision or hallucination. Jesus wanted them to be authentic witnesses to the reality of his life as their risen Lord with his glorified soul and body.

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Theme in our Life Today

Christian faith is based on historical events. These events were first spoken about then written down so that later generations could be sure that they had a credible basis for their faith. In the Jewish tradition, testimony was deemed true if at least two men gave it.  Far more people witnessed the events that form the historical core of Christian faith.

Luke’s report of the Last Supper and the meals that Jesus shared after his Resurrection unveil for us the significance of the Eucharist. Having shared a meal with his disciples, Jesus now uncovers for them the significance of what was written about him in the Scriptures. So, too, our celebration of the Mass is an encounter with Jesus, through the Word and the Sacrament of the Eucharist. As Jesus commissions his disciples to be witnesses to what Scriptures foretold, our celebration of the Eucharist commissions us. Like the disciples, we are sent to announce the good news of Jesus’ forgiveness of sins.

00:00 / 01:16

Prepare for Sunday

1. Relate an experience that brought peace to your life in the middle of difficulties?

2. Who do you know who lives and acts as if Christ is truly alive? How does this person affect you?

3. How has your faith life changed during this Lent and Easter season?

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