Commentary: 3rd Sunday Easter Year B

First Reading: Acts 3:13–15, 17–19

13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. 14 But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.

17 “And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out.

“The two stand side-by-side: Israel’s mysterious “ignorance” (Paul talks about blindness, stubbornness) and the call to conversion. There is no hint of the idea that Israel is to be replaced by the Church, but also no hint of a double path of salvation in which Israel would be saved by its (returning) Messiah (Acts 3:20ff.) and the Church by Jesus Christ. No — they are to wait for the Messiah and turn around” (Balthasar, LW, 188).

In today’s First Reading and Epistle, we see the apostles interpreting the Scriptures as Jesus taught them to (see Gospel — Luke 24:45).

Psalm: Psalm 4:2, 4, 7–9

1Answer me when I call, O God of my right!

You gave me room when I was in distress.

Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.

3But know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself;

the Lord hears when I call to him.

6There are many who say, “O that we might see some good!

Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!”

7You have put gladness in my heart

more than when their grain and wine abound.

8I will both lie down and sleep in peace;

for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.

“In the Scriptures, the light of His face shines upon us, as we sing in today’s Psalm. We know the wonders He has done throughout history. And we have the confidence to call to Him, and to know that He hears and answers” ~ Scott Hahn

Second Reading: 1 John 2:1–5a

2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

3 Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. 4 Whoever says, “I have come to know him,” but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; 5 but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him:

A. E. Brooke says, “John can conceive of no real knowledge of God which does not issue in obedience.” Knowledge of God can be proved only by obedience to God; and knowledge of God can be gained only by obedience to God.

C. H. Dodd says, “To know God is to experience his love in Christ, and to return that love in obedience.”

Gospel: Luke 24:35–48

35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

36 While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost.

Jesus appears all of a sudden, when the doors are closed (cf. Jn 20:19), which explains their surprised reaction. St Ambrose comments that “he penetrated their closed retreat not because his nature was incorporeal, but because he had the quality of a resurrected body” (Expositio Evangelii sec. Lucam, in loc.). “Subtility”, which is one of the qualities of a glorifed body, means that “the body is totally subject to the soul and ever ready to obey its wishes” (St Pius V, Catechism, 1, 12, 13), with the result that it can pass through material obstacles without any difficulty. ~ Saint Luke’s Gospel. (2005). (p. 202). Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers. “It is one thing for them to believe with the Church and say, “The Lord is truly risen, and he has appeared to Simon!” But it is another for them to personally experience this. It breaks through everything they have ever known. Their belief is no longer abstract; it is no longer merely communal. Now they are personally in contact with the reality of it. So, too, for us on our journey to deeper faith. It is a faith declared by the Church, but a faith that we must come to know and experience personally. Thanks be to God that the Lord is willing to help us to do so. For He does not simply shatter our notions. Rather, He helps us to “connect the dots” between His truth and what we already know” ~ Msgr. Pope

38 He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate in their presence.

“To convince them, Jesus asks them for something to eat, because there is nothing like eating together to comfort and create communion” ~ Fr. Cantalamessa

“While they were still flustered for joy, he said, “Have you got here anything to eat? Certainly you can believe that I am alive and well if I join you in a meal.” They offered him what they had: a portion of grilled fish. Grilled fish means martyrdom, faith proved by fire. Why is it only a portion? Paul says, “If I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” Imagine a complete body of martyrs. Some suffer because of love, while others suffer out of pride. Remove the pride portion, offer the love portion. That is the food for Christ. Give Christ his portion. Christ loves the martyrs who suffered out of love” ~ St. Augustine

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.”

“All of Israel’s dramatic history with God has no other goal and thus no other meaning than what we find summed here in Jesus’ own testimony” (Balthasar, LW, 187).

“Jesus in today’s Gospel teaches His apostles how to interpret the Scriptures. He tells them that all the Scriptures of what we now call the Old Testament refer to Him. He says that all the promises found in the Old Testament have been fulfilled in His passion, death, and resurrection. And He tells them that these Scriptures foretell the mission of the Church—to preach forgiveness of sins to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem” ~ Scott Hahn

45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.

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