Readings and Reflections Today April 15, 2018 Third Sunday of Easter

Reading 1 ACTS 3:13-15, 17-19

Peter said to the people:
“The God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus,
whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence
when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One
and asked that a murderer be released to you.
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
Now I know, brothers,
that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;
but God has thus brought to fulfillment
what he had announced beforehand
through the mouth of all the prophets,
that his Christ would suffer.
Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9

R. (7a) Lord, let your face shine on us.
R. Alleluia.
When I call, answer me, O my just God,
you who relieve me when I am in distress;
have pity on me, and hear my prayer!
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
R. Alleluia.
Know that the LORD does wonders for his faithful one;
the LORD will hear me when I call upon him.
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
R. Alleluia.
O LORD, let the light of your countenance shine upon us!
You put gladness into my heart.
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
R. Alleluia.
As soon as I lie down, I fall peacefully asleep,
for you alone, O LORD,
bring security to my dwelling.
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
R. Alleluia.

Reading 21 JN 2:1-5A

My children, I am writing this to you
so that you may not commit sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous one.
He is expiation for our sins,
and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.
The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep
his commandments.
Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments
are liars, and the truth is not in them.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.

AlleluiaCF. LK 24:32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us;
make our hearts burn while you speak to us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. 

Gospel LK 24:35-48

The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way,
and how Jesus was made known to them
in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have.”
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of baked fish;
he took it and ate it in front of them.

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
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them,
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.”

Reflections Today

My Flesh and My Bones

Third Sunday of Easter

April 15, 2018

Luke 24:35-48

“Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have." (Luke 24:39)

We listen to the last story of risen Christ’s appearance to the disciples in the Gospel of Luke. His presences point to the fact that Jesus still has several missions to accomplish on earth before He ascends into heaven. Particularly in this episode, Jesus is out to dispel the disciples’ doubt on His bodily resurrection. Some disciples may have an idea that Jesus’ appearances are mere illusions as the disciples are coping with a terrible pain of losing and failure. Some others may think that it was just a disembodied spirit or a ghost that appeared like Jesus. 

Jesus comes to them and proves that He is neither an illusion coming from their disciples’ mind nor a mere story concocted to give false hope. He shows them his hands and feet and eats a baked fish just like an ordinary and living man does. Even Jesus says that he possesses “flesh and bones.” The disciples who see and touch Jesus’ body would acclaim in their hearts, “This is, at last, the bone of my bones and the flesh of my flesh (Gen 2:23).” From this point, we begin to recognize that Jesus’ bodily resurrection is closely linked to the story of creation in the Book of Genesis.

If we go back to the story of human creation in Genesis 2, we read a beautiful image of God as a potter artist who fashioned humanity from clay with various details of perfection. God also gave the human life as He breathed His life-giving spirit. However, soon after creation, God said that it was not good for the human to be alone. He then made other animals, but no one was proven suitable companion for that human. Thus, God, acting like a surgeon, made the first human sleep, took the rib, and fashioned another human being. When Adam woke up and saw for the first time another being in his likeness, he shouted in joy, “This is, at last, the bone of my bones and the flesh of my flesh (Gen 2:23).” The story of human creation which is highly symbolic reaches its perfection in the creation of man and woman, and how they are going to be suitable and loving partners for each other.

Going back to Gospel of Luke, the story of the appearance of the risen Lord to the disciples turns to be a story of re-creation. After the disciples are disbanded, scattered and cowardly ran away, they are as weak as soil. Jesus gathers them together and fashions them once again as a community. After the disciples are hurt deeply and defeated, they are like a clay pot shattered into pieces. Jesus comes to breathe His Spirit and to bring healing and true peace. After the disciples are disoriented and lost meaning, they are like the lonely and incomplete first Adam. Jesus, the second Adam, continues to love them, and thus, restores their purpose, and fills what is fundamentally lacking in them. Being re-created, the disciples now are suitable partners of Jesus in bringing the message of resurrection and the gospel of love to wounded humanity.

Each one of us is wounded and struggles with many issues. Despite our good effort to become a good Christian, we acknowledge we are as weak as clay. We have been unfaithful to the Lord and each other. The risen Christ does not lose hope in us. He gathers us once again as His people, and in the Eucharist, He shows us His true “flesh and blood.” Partaking in Jesus’ resurrected body means that despite our fragile nature and weaknesses, we have been re-created as His suitable partners to bring the message of hope and fulfill the mission of love. Only in risen Christ, we find our true fulfillment, yet in being one in Jesus means we also continue loving as He loves us to the end. 

Br. Valentinus Bayuhadi Ruseno, OP
Photo by Harry Setianto, SJ

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