April 15, 2018 Third Sunday of Easter Fr Jim Miller

Third Sunday of Easter
 Reading 1 ACTS 3:13-15, 17-19

  Responsorial PsalmPS 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9

  1. (7a) Lord, let your face shine on us.
    R. Alleluia.

Alleluia CF. LK 24:32

Reading 2 1 JN 2:1-5A

Gospel LK 24:35-48

Homily—April 14 & 15, 2018

Have you ever tried to explain something to another person and when they don’t get it find yourself repeating what you said only louder!!   Unless the person did not hear you the first time it probably is not going to help repeating it louder. If a teacher did this with a class it would be very frustrating.   But if we look at another way to present ourselves or our teaching to a class maybe more will get the point of our conversation or teaching.

These Easter Sundays we are experiencing the Resurrection of Jesus from a number of different Easter stories that appeal to us on a variety of levels.  Initially, the story was the finding of the empty tomb. Then, we had a story of the appearance of Jesus to the disciples without Thomas, followed by one with Thomas.  Thomas says he will not believe unless he probes the nail marks. Now we have another story where the risen Jesus eats a meal. He is said to have flesh and bones. He is not a ghost.  His eating baked fish virtually confirms that.

If we didn’t understand with the empty tomb, if we didn’t understand when Jesus appeared to even Thomas, now there is another appearance where he graphically demonstrates that he is present amongst them.  Of course, each of the three stories we are referring to are from different gospel writers: the empty tomb from Mark, the appearance to Thomas from John, and now the risen Jesus eating fish from Luke. But these texts are given to us on successive Sundays to confirm for us that Jesus truly rose from the dead.

Before today’s gospel passage is the section on the appearance of Jesus to the two disciples walking away from Jerusalem to Emmaus.   It states that “their eyes were prevented from recognizing him” and they explained to this stranger what had happened. He then “interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures”.   It wasn’t until Jesus “took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them” that “their eyes were opened and they recognized him”. Immediately these two disciples returned to Jerusalem and are now sharing their experience with the Eleven and those with them when they were interrupted by Jesus standing among them and saying “Shalom”.  Their reaction was to be startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost!! Jesus says to them why are you questioning the fact that I am here. Look at me, see my body with the nail marks, touch me, I do have flesh. Jesus asks them if they have anything to eat and receives a piece of baked fish which he eats in front of them. He wants them to believe in the resurrection and that he is alive and can appear to them at will with a glorified body.

Then, admitting that his presence among them was different from what it was before his death, he tried to help bridge the gap by returning to his role as teacher.  In effect he said, “I am telling you again what I tried to get you to understand so many times before.” He then gave them the three essential keys to understanding his mission and preaching:  God’s Messiah was not what they expected, but the one who suffered and rose from the dead; conversion and forgiveness would be preached in his name; his disciples had the responsibility to spread that message from its birthplace in the heart of Israel to the entire world.

The message of the resurrection, the message of the salvation and forgiveness offered by a crucified and risen Savior, is not easy to take in or live out.  All four evangelists portray the difficulty of grasping the message. The paschal mystery overturns all ordinary expectations and normal human ambitions.

   Jesus opens their minds to understand the scriptures and all that was written about him in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms.   We can certainly pray that we too can understand what is written in the Bible and come to a deeper understanding and belief in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I recently made two decisions that will be good for me.   During Holy Week I decided it was time to cut up my Diamond Jo cards because I know that I cannot beat a slot machine and it is not that much fun anyway!!   Secondly, I will be getting a $1,058 tax refund and have decided to put $1,000 toward our parish debt. Both decisions will help me to be a better steward of the gifts that God has given me.   What will you do?