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050519 Third Sunday in Easter

During this time of Easter, the readings tell us over and over about the Lord Jesus and his rising from the dead and his appearing to his followers. Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles tells of the preaching of Jesus’ followers and how they simply could not keep quiet about what had happened. Those who follow the Lord Jesus often find that they cannot be silent about what He had done in their lives, even today. Like the early disciples, we Christians often talk among ourselves about the ways that Jesus has changed our lives.


The second reading, from the Book of Revelation, takes us to heaven and gives witness that even in heaven, there is praise of the Risen Lord. It is as if heaven reflects back to us what has happened here on earth when Jesus rises from the dead. Probably most of us don’t think about heaven in this way. We just see heaven as our ultimate goal without reflecting much on what it will be like. When we do reflect, we understand that none of us really knows anything about heaven other than that we will be with our Lord.


We can understand, however, that heaven and being with the Lord will be about living forever in these great mysteries of our faith.


The Gospel today brings us back to the appearances of Jesus after his Resurrection. There seem to be two important aspects of this particular Gospel passage. First, even though the followers of Jesus recognize him, they are still a bit unsure that it is truly the Lord. Second, Jesus invites Peter to repent of his three denials by confessing his love for the Lord three times.


Like us, these early followers of Jesus both believe and have doubts at the same time. The challenge for us today is to continue to believe that Jesus is present in his Church. In so many ways it is easier to live at the level of doubt and to reject the Church. It is an enormous challenge to see the present of Jesus Christ at work in His Church, bringing holiness and love to our world. This is always the challenge of believing in the Incarnation of our Lord.


Today we face the same challenges as the early Christians: we believe in Jesus but have our doubts that He is present in the Catholic Church. It is the Lord Himself who invites us to believe in His Church. Let us go forward with faith and confidence. Let us follow the Lord.


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