The Bishops Homily – 3rd Sunday Of Easter 2018

3rd Sunday Of Easter
Cycle B | 15/04/18
Acts 3: 13-15; 17-19
I John 2: 1-5A
Lk. 24: 35-48

 

INTRODUCTION: Our first reading and the Gospel provide very important lessons on fundamental Christianity (what it means to be a Christian) and function as a master class on preaching (kerygmatic proclamation). Notice the tension they stress between sin and grace. In the living out of Christianity, there is that tension between sin and grace. To get this tension wrong, to emphasize unduly one side or the other produces mischief in religion.

(1) Acts 3: 13-15 — This first Christian Sermon ever preached by Peter on the occasion of the healing of a crippled man has three elements:

(a) Begin with some good news — the primacy of Grace, not with sin that somehow depresses the audience. The Risen Jesus is still among you, still affecting the healing of his suffering people.

(b) Notice how Peter identifies clearly the God who is active here? The God of the Bible (Revelation): the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then as today there are thousands of views about God.

(c) The declaration of the fact of sin, often denied these days, is essential to Biblical and Christian proclamation. There seems an allergy to admitting sin seriously because of the “dictatorship of relativism” and the total embrace of the victim mentality. The fault in me is because of you who victimize me.

When we lose sight of sin, we lose sight of Christianity. Why? Because Christianity is not mysticism, nor a philosophy but a salvation religion. It presumes something is the matter with us. In the presence of the Crucified Christ, we know why he is that way.

(2) The Gospel : Luke 24: 35-48 — the masterpiece within a masterpiece.

(a) “Peace be with you!” Jesus’ first word. The program begins with grace. The peace of the Resurrection is felt in the disciples.

(b) “In a state of alarm and fright,” not because they were seeing something extra ordinary but because they thought Jesus was coming for vengeance. Jesus’ showing his hands and feet reminds us and them what we did to him. The Crucified Jesus is permanently a judgement upon the world.

(c) The Resurrection is situated within the great story of Salvation History: “This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled. . .”

Once again we see that we are not talking about a vague God of the New Age but about the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and Jacob. Then finally, the commission: “repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” Grace breaks through the Resurrection, making us see more our sins that leads to repentance.

CONCLUSION: These are the basic elements of Christian Proclamation. If any of these is missing, the message falls apart. This is what it means to preach that Jesus is Risen from the dead.

Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches

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