Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As we have seen from the various readings of the Gospel in the past three weeks, the disciples had a hard time getting around the incredible shock of the passion and death of our Lord. At first they believe the appearance of Jesus to be a mere apparition, a ghost. But they gradually come to believe it is really him, that he is not a ghost, but that he has truly risen. The catechism tells us that: “Given all the testimonies, Christ’s Resurrecion cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as a historical fact” (CCC.643).
Furthermore, the idea that the disciples produced this faith is ridiculous since the gospels show them as discouraged and despairing after the crucifixion. The Church teaches rather that: “Their faith in the Resurrection was born, under the action of divine grace, from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus.”
Our faith too, sisters and brothers, is born by the witness of those who came before us as well as the action of God’s grace. But who are we witnessing to? St. Peter and the apostles were laying down their reputations and their lives every time they witnessed to the Resurrection of Christ. St. Peter said, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
The Gospel comes to us through the Church as St. Paul taught in his letter to Timothy: “I am writing these instructions to you so that…you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:14,15). St. Paul is teaching here that the Church exists to support the edifice of gospel truth. When we criticize or rebel against the teachings of the Church, we are not criticizing the Church, but Christ. As our Lord said to his apostles: “He who hears you, hears me, and he who rejects you, rejects me, and he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16).
Sisters and brothers, if we are to call ourselves true followers of Christ, then we must be willing to witness to our faith by living the Gospel and all the obligations that flow from it. Witnessing to the Gospel by our lives and by our words is not only an act of faith in the risen Christ, but also an act of justice establishing His truth in the world, that we might all know His love and peace in our hearts.
Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
April 14, 2013
Third Sunday of Easter
Simon Peter and his companions after fishing all night catch nothing. At dawn as they approach shore, someone on the shore whom they do not recognize directs them to cast out their net. When the net is filled with a large catch, the beloved disciple recognizes Jesus, now risen from death, and says to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When they reach shore, they see a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus invites them to eat with him. He takes bread and gives it to them and in like manner the fish. Jesus then asks Peter three times if he loves him, and says to him in turn, “Feed my lambs…Tend my sheep…Feed my sheep.” Jesus then speaks of the kind of death Simon Peter will undergo, and says to him, “Follow me.”