Third Sunday of Easter
April 26, 2020
Today, in Mercy, our Eastertide readings once again pull us into the full power of the Resurrection.
Just listen to Peter who stands and raises his mighty voice over the gathered crowd:
Let this be known to you, and listen to my words.
You who are Israelites, hear these words.
Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God …
This man … you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.
But God raised him up,
releasing him from the throes of death,
because it was impossible for him to be held by it.
There is no fear in Peter. There is only the courage that comes from certainty in God’s power over death. This is the grace of Resurrection Faith.
Resurrection Faith is a power we intensely need in these times that so test us.
We may be severely tested like those suffering illness and loss; like those valiantly serving the suffering. Or we, like many, may simply be challenged by our self-isolation and radical disruption of routine.
In that, we may be like the disciples walking home to Emmaus. They didn’t die on Calvary. They weren’t even retained as followers of Jesus. They simply drifted away from their Hope. They were going home to a sad but comfortable dinner adequate enough to invite a stranger.
Yet they were heartbroken. The world they had loved and hoped in had been shattered. Everything they believed in appeared to be contradicted by the Cross. Most devastating of all, they were at a loss to imagine a future.
Aren’t we at least a little bit like them?
Aren’t we dazed that the reality we trusted seems to have disappeared overnight? Aren’t we too trying to figure out what we do now in the vacuum? Aren’t we too so blinded by sadness that we might fail to see God walking right beside us?
In our second reading, Peter gives us the formula to break through such blindness:
- Invoke God as your Father
- Remain faithful to your good works
- Conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning,
- Realize that you are already ransomed from death by the precious blood of Christ
Practicing this kind of Resurrection Faith in troubled times makes us not only unafraid of death but, more importantly, unafraid of life. Because I think that is what really most cripples us – not any fear of dying, but rather our fear of fully living our life in God.
We worry about what we have to lose if we live like that, don’t we?
By jeopardizing everything most precious to us, these pandemic times make clear all that we have to lose. But they also make clear the powers in us impossible to chain: how we love, hope, serve and believe. Neither death nor pandemic has power over these living graces.
Like the Emmaus disciples, our hearts burn within us, too, with an ardent mix of longing, confusion, and stubborn trust. Like them, let us sit down with Jesus at the table of our lives. Let his patient voice speak to our souls and clear our vision. The Resurrection power of God is alive in all things. May we recognize that Power even in these seemingly contradictory times.
Because Christ rose from the dead, it is impossible for any form of death to hold us captive. On this Third Sunday of Easter, our readings invite us to truly believe that. Let’s fully accept the invitation, dear friends. Let’s live like we believe!
Music: Christ Our Hope in Life and Death – The Gettys