Third Sunday of Eastertide – Year B

Posté par diaconos le 17 avril 2021

Thus it is written that Christ would suffer, that on the third day he would rise from the dead

Third Sunday of Eastertide - Year B dans Homélies ce1700a6e1e69a289bb75f9fe9b8e627

# Jesus advises the apostles on their mission not to take money or other possessions with them and, when they arrive at their destination, to find out who can be trusted and ask for hospitality. If they are not welcome, Jesus asks them to leave by shaking the dust from their feet, a symbolic gesture signifying the breaking off of impure contact. The Gospel of Matthew establishes that the mission of the Twelve is reserved for the Israelites, that is, those who know the promises of God, to the exclusion of the Gentiles and the Samaritans, who are equal to the Gentiles.

The mission of the apostles will only be extended to all nations after Jesus’ resurrection. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus asks the apostles to wear only sandals and a staff, while in Matthew’s Gospel he asks them to wear nothing, neither sandals nor staff; likewise, Luke’s Gospel asks them not to wear a staff, while sandals are not mentioned. According to some commentators, Mark’s version is the original version because it is consistent with Eastern tradition and the situation on the ground. The sandals and staff were the equipment of shepherds travelling with the flock and were necessary for walking on the impenetrable and stony roads of Palestine at that time.

# The Great Mission or Universal Mission is an instruction given by Jesus of Nazareth to eleven of his twelve apostles after his resurrection. In this episode, recounted in the last five verses of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus appears to his disciples on a mountain in Galilee and asks them to baptise  » in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit  » all the nations of the world.

This passage follows the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Élian Cuvillier noted that it contains no call to God’s judgement: the sending out on mission and the welcoming of new disciples outweighs any notion of sin or retribution.

The mission is placed under the sign of the Trinity, reminiscent of Christ’s baptism, where the Spirit descended on Jesus at the moment when the divine voice established the filial relationship with the Father. Matthew’s Gospel is characterised by a permanent duality between Jewish particularism and universalism.


From the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St. Luke

The disciples returned from Emmaus and told the eleven apostles and their companions what had happened on the way and how the Lord had revealed himself to them in the breaking of the bread. While they were still talking about it, he stood among them and said to them : « Peace be with you! « And they were terrified and afraid; they thought they had seen a ghost.
Jesus said to them : « Why are you so angry ? And why do these thoughts arise in your hearts ? Look at my hands and feet. It is me! Touch me, look at me : a ghost has no flesh and no bones, as you see what I have done. «   After this word, he showed them his hands and feet. In their joy, they did not yet dare to believe it, and they were amazed.

Jesus said to them: « Do you have anything to eat here ?  « And they brought him a piece of fried fish, which he took and ate before them. Then he said to them : « These are the words that I spoke to you while I was still with you: everything that is written in my name must be fulfilled, everything that is written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms. »
Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. He said to them :  » So it is written that Christ will suffer, …that he will rise from the dead on the third day…, …and that repentance will be proclaimed in his name…for the forgiveness of sins to all nations, beginning with Jerusalem. It is up to you to be witnesses to this  » (Lk 24, 35-48).

Jesus Christ changes those who encounter him

While the disciples were telling their companions what had happened on the road to Emmaus and how they had recognised Jesus when he broke the bread, Jesus himself was standing among them. He said to them : « Peace be with you » (Lk 24, 36). In their joy, they did not dare believe him and were amazed. But Jesus was sensitive to his still unbelieving disciples ; he came to them and showed them his hands and feet marked by the nails of suffering.

He insisted :  » It is really me. Touch me. »  The hands and feet he shows us today are those of all his brothers and sisters wounded by wars and hatred.  To convince his disciples that he was alive and well, he asked them  :  » Do you have anything to eat ?  »  They offered him a piece of grilled fish. He took it and ate before their eyes. Through the mouth of all the hungry of the earth, he says to us again and again :  » Do you have anything to eat ?  « 

What is striking here is that Jesus takes the first steps. He himself provokes the encounter, he takes the initiative, he helps to recognise :  » Look at my hands and my feet.  » The encounter with the risen Christ changes the disciples like those on the road to Emmaus. At first they were afraid, but now they are witnesses. And we, when we come to church, do we have a real encounter with the risen Jesus that transforms us ? The history of the Church tells us how many men and women were changed by their encounter with Christ.

Sometimes it was a sudden shock, a sudden conversion : St Paul, St Augustine, St Ignatius of Loyola, St Teresa of Avila, Charles de Foucauld… These encounters lead to a daily relationship that transforms life. Jesus offers himself to me every morning and every evening in the hour of personal or family prayer, every Sunday in the Eucharist to hear his word, to receive his offering and his body.

Is this a real encounter with the risen Jesus waiting for me? If my parish church is open, with a lamp telling me that He is there, in the tabernacle, available for an encounter in the intimacy of silence, why should I not take advantage of it ? Listening and reading the Word of God is also a privileged way to enter into a relationship with Jesus. However it happens, the encounter with the Risen Lord widens the heart and changes us.

 » They are the witnesses. »  These words of Jesus define the mission of the apostles. The witness must pass on what he has seen and heard in order to awaken a response of faith. This Sunday, the fourth day of the Easter season, is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, an opportunity to call upon Jesus once again to be his witness in some way. Today in this Gospel Jesus reminds us :  » You are the witnesses ! « 

How we live according to the Gospel, how we let peace and love flourish around us, in our families, at work, is a witness. To participate in the Eucharist on Sunday is to live the Passover, a true resurrection. To be a witness also means to speak out when necessary, as Peter exhorts us :  » Always be ready to give reasons for your hope to those who ask you. But do it with gentleness and respect…  » (1 P 3, 15).

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Links to other Christian websites

◊ Father Hanly   :  click here to read the paprer → Homily for 3rd Sunday of Easter, Year B 

◊ Pathways to God    :  click here to read the paprer → Third Sunday of Easter Year B

Video Fr. Hahn : « Third Sunday of Easter (Year B) « 

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