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Select Exegesis
April, 15 2018

3rd Sunday of Easter (B)

Rev Timothy P. Schehr

Acts 3:13-15, 17-19 1 John 2:1-5 Luke 24:35-48

            “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” What an advantage the apostles receive in this Sunday’s gospel! What a privilege! To have Jesus as teacher explaining all the passages of the Bible. Who among us could resist signing up for that class? 

            Luke does not tell us precisely what Bible texts Jesus used with the apostles that day. But in Acts of the Apostles we do find the apostles quoting passages from the Torah, from the prophets, and from the Psalms. So they must have been listening to the Lord’s instructions. The basic message here is that Jesus brings to fulfillment what Moses and the prophets and David wanted so much to see in their own day. How fortunate we are to listen to passages from the Bible every Sunday and celebrate their fulfillment in the Eucharist.

             Another fascinating feature of the gospel for this Sunday is the request the Risen Lord makes as he stand before the apostles. He asks them “Have you anything here to eat?” They give him a portion of baked fish!  Maybe that was all these former fisherman had available. Or just maybe they thought that was the most appropriate thing to offer the One they had seen feed thousands with just five loaves of bread and two fish (Luke 9:10-17). It was their way of showing that they did indeed recognize that the one standing before them that Easter day was same Lord they had always known.

             The Gospel for this Sunday concludes with the Risen Lord announcing to the apostles, “You are witnesses of these things.” They certainly were! And when we gather together on this Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist we should bear in mind that we are the beneficiaries of the testimony of these same apostles.

             Appropriately enough we hear Peter giving testimony about the Risen Lord in the first reading. It is Pentecost. Peter and the rest have just been transformed by the power of the Holy Sprit. Now Peter stands before a crowd of fellow Jews from all over the world and boldly proclaims the gospel. He wants them to know the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob is still at work in their lives offering them the wonderful gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.  They of course did not recognize this; in their ignorance they—as Peter so dramatically says it— put to death the author of life.  And could Peter avoid thinking of his own ignorance in denying his Lord three times? But now is the time to move ahead. Peter invites his audience to repent and enjoy all the blessings God has in store for them.

             In the second reading John gives his own witness to the Risen Lord. He addresses his readers as “my children”. This is the prerogative of an elder apostle speaking to younger generations of believers. But the elder apostle also reminds us that everyone who believes in the only Son of God has the privilege of becoming children of God.

             The elder apostle encourages his children to remain loyal to the Lord’s commandments about love of God and love of one another. They now have the truth. They can never look at the world in the same way. It has lost its hold on them because they live for the world that is to come. As we hear these readings this Sunday we may be motivated to join Peter, and John, and all the rest in being witnesses in the world to the Risen Lord.        



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