You killed the prince of life: God, however, raised him from the dead
Everyone came running towards Peter and John in great excitement, to the Portico of Solomon, as it is called, where the man was still clinging to Peter and John. When Peter saw the people he addressed them, ‘Why are you so surprised at this? Why are you staring at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or holiness? You are Israelites, and it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, who has glorified his servant Jesus, the same Jesus you handed over and then disowned in the presence of Pilate after Pilate had decided to release him. It was you who accused the Holy One, the Just One, you who demanded the reprieve of a murderer while you killed the prince of life. God, however, raised him from the dead, and to that fact we are the witnesses; and it is the name of Jesus which, through our faith in it, has brought back the strength of this man whom you see here and who is well known to you. It is faith in that name that has restored this man to health, as you can all see.
‘Now I know, brothers, that neither you nor your leaders had any idea what you were really doing; this was the way God carried out what he had foretold, when he said through all his prophets that his Christ would suffer. Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, and so that the Lord may send the time of comfort. Then he will send you the Christ he has predestined, that is Jesus, whom heaven must keep till the universal restoration comes which God proclaimed, speaking through his holy prophets. Moses, for example, said: The Lord God will raise up a prophet like myself for you, from among your own brothers; you must listen to whatever he tells you. The man who does not listen to that prophet is to be cut off from the people. In fact, all the prophets that have ever spoken, from Samuel onwards, have predicted these days.
‘You are the heirs of the prophets, the heirs of the covenant God made with our ancestors when he told Abraham: in your offspring all the families of the earth will be blessed. It was for you in the first place that God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.’
The Word of the Lord…
It is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead
The disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of bread.
They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, and they stood there dumbfounded; so he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.
Then he told them, ‘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 has to be fulfilled.’ He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.’
The Gospel of the Lord…
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Becoming a Witness to the Truth
April 13, 2023
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.” (Luke 24:45–48)
Jesus once again appears to a group of His disciples, and He once again gets straight to the point. He “opened their minds” so that they would understand all that the Scriptures revealed about Him. He helped them to see that His death and Resurrection were fulfillments of the teachings of Moses and the prophets. And then Jesus says something new: “You are witnesses of these things.”
As we saw in yesterday’s Gospel, it’s clear that the disciples did not yet understand why Jesus had to die and then rise again. They were still in shock and traumatized by these events. Therefore, Jesus had to carefully explain to His disciples the meaning of what had just taken place. They needed to understand this on a level that they couldn’t comprehend by themselves. They needed Jesus’ clear and detailed explanation as well as a special grace by which their minds would be opened to an understanding of these profound mysteries of faith.
We are no different than these disciples. It’s easy to believe in Jesus for insufficient reasons which only result in superficial faith. Some believe simply because that’s what they were taught when they were young. Some believe because it makes them feel better to believe. Some believe because they don’t know of anything better to believe. But then there are those who believe for the right reason. Like the disciples in this resurrection appearance, they have listened to Jesus speak clearly and in detail to them, such as through their study of Scripture, the Catechism, or other holy sources, and then they were given a special grace from God that “opened their minds” to an understanding that goes far beyond human rational abilities alone. Are you one of those people?
If you are, then you have another duty. Not only must you continue to internalize these truths, allowing them to deepen and change your own life completely and totally, but you must also become a “witness” to these things. When you grow in an authentic knowledge of the faith revealed by our Lord, you must also share it with others. Real faith must be shared!
Reflect, today, upon this powerful resurrection appearance. As you do, ponder whether or not you have allowed our Lord to speak to you in the same way that He did to these disciples, and whether or not you have truly internalized all that He has spoken to you and explained to you. If you are among this grouping of people, reflect also upon your duty to be a witness of these truths to others. Jesus wants to appear in His resurrected form to many others, but He especially does this, today, through the mediation of His faithful followers who are now sent forth to be witnesses to Christ and His glorious Resurrection.
My risen Jesus, You gave Your disciples a glorious gift when You opened their minds to Your holy Truth and taught them many things. Please open my mind also, dear Lord, so that I will comprehend the deep and profound mysteries of faith. Help me to understand Who You are, why You had to die, and how to share in the new life of Your Resurrection. Please also use me as Your witness so that many will come to know You and share in the new life won by Your Resurrection. Jesus, I trust in You