14 April 2024 -- 3rd Sunday of Easter "B"

Acts 3:13...19; 1John 2:1-5a; Luke 24:35-48


          The most surprising thing in this Gospel is the fear that seizes the eleven Apostles and their companions. Not long before, the disciples who had met Jesus on the road to Emmaus and recognised him in the breaking of the bread had returned to tell the Apostles these things. They replied: "It is true! The Lord has risen and appeared to Simon". Before that, there had been the testimony of the women who had come to the tomb on Easter morning. So everyone already knew that Jesus had indeed risen. Suddenly, while they were talking together about Jesus, he appeared in their midst and said quite simply: "Peace be with you". And this is enough to make them afraid and filled with fear. So what is the source of this fear?

          The reason for their fear is undoubtedly that the Jesus who makes himself present in their midst is different from the image they have formed of him, and of whom they continue to speak.

          Isn't something similar happening today in our so-called old Christian countries, in America as well as in Europe? We talk a lot about Jesus, as the Apostles did among themselves. Perhaps we forget too easily that Jesus is something other than all the images we have of him. These images can be useful to us in making personal contact with him, and above all in "talking about him"; they may have been useful to the Christian people as a whole in the period known as "Christendom".   But these images are no longer an effective mediation for a very large proportion of the men and women of our time, who have not necessarily rejected Christ even when they have abandoned sacramental practice and perhaps even the institution of the Church.

          There is no doubt that we should be much less sure of everything we have to say about Jesus and let him make himself present in our midst in unexpected ways. The hands and feet he shows us are the hands and feet of all his brothers and sisters wounded by wars and hatred. Through the mouths of all the world's hungry, he says to us again and again: "Do you have something to eat?

          There is a lot of talk these days about the "New Evangelisation" and the need to re-evangelise Western society. In order to do this, it is essential that we get rid of all the images of Jesus, often very sentimental, which have accumulated in our collective consciousness over many centuries, but which no longer speak to the men and women of today. Let us re-expose ourselves to the impact of the very words of the Gospel. Let Jesus enter our lives and say to us, "Why are you troubled?" and call us once again to "conversion proclaimed in his name for the forgiveness of sins".