Third Sunday of Easter
April 15, 2018
Two weeks have passed, but our Gospel for this Third Sunday of Easter holds us in “The Upper Room.” It’s not exactly rewinding the scene to watch it again. Each of the four Gospels report slightly different details concerning the Easter Morning discovery. By keeping us in a holding pattern, hovering over Easter Morning, we not only savor this season of joy and hope, but we also have the opportunity to consider Christ’s Resurrection from the perspective of the different eyewitnesses. If the details of their experiences vary, the common denominator is certainly an empty tomb. But more than that, there is the shared experience of Christ’s REAL PRESENCE, regardless of the circumstances.
And that is exactly what we see in this passage from Luke. Here, we are given a blend of many stories of the unbelievable becoming reality. Recognizing Jesus in the breaking of the bread, through His wounds that were not healed but glorified, watching Him eat fish and remembering Him feeding a multitude with a few fish…all convincing proof that Jesus had conquered death. As they shared with one another their various encounters with the Risen Christ, they began to see and better understand how all that was foretold in the Old Testament had been fulfilled through Jesus of Nazareth. The sharing of their stories enabled them all to see how God had kept His promise to send a savior, an unblemished lamb, to be the perfect sacrifice to take away the sins of the world.
Possibly the most convincing evidence of The Lord’s Resurrection was the change in His followers. Over the 40 days they spent together in the company of the Risen Lord, as He calmed their fears and enlightened their minds, they began to bond into a family of faith. In Acts 2, the sequel to Luke’s Gospel, the communal life of what was to become the first Christian community is described. They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.
Those of us who gather together today are really doing more than merely savoring something that happened in the past. Like the early Christians, we shrug off all of the things going on in the world…war, violence of every kind, greed, materialism, bigotry, and injustice in all of its forms. Turning from darkness and guided by light, we come together to share our own personal stories. Each of us, in our own way, has experienced the Risen Christ, Who has calmed our fears and resolved all of our doubts.
We are doing much more than remembering and celebrating Christ’s Resurrection. We are living it. We are an Easter people, devoted to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.
As such, we are commissioned to go out and share the Good News that has died, Christ is Risen, and Christ will come again. And upon His return in glory, He will find us waiting…a family of faith…living as best we can…the teaching of the apostles and the communal life, sharing in the breaking of the bread, prayers and our stories.