Sunday April 18
Repent… that times of refreshing may come from the Lord
  • Acts 3: 13-15, 17-19
  • Ps 4: 2-4, 7-9
  • 1 John 2: 1-5
  • Luke 24: 35-48

Most people knew the lame beggar. He sat outside the temple gates and begged for as long as they could remember. Now he is walking and jumping, praising God following the two Apostles Peter and John into the Temple. The people saw what had happened, and were surprised. How could these two “nobodies” perform such a miracle? This is the background to today’s first reading. St. Peter addresses the crowd and shifts their attention from them to the Lord Jesus. “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see”.

Unfortunately, at this point most people stop their journey with God even before they could start it. The miracle becomes a distraction. They enjoy the blessing, and they may even speak about it to others, but they miss the invitation for a deeper journey with the Lord Jesus. Even for those who have had the grace to move beyond the miracles to a journey with the Lord, the distractions can be very real. We may be faithful to God in the bigger decisions and in the more exposed areas of our lives. Yet, in the secret places of our lives we could be living in rebellion with God. St Peter in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit redirects the attention of both groups; “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord”.He is reminding us that the miracle is not the end but the beginning. It is an invitation to put a stop to our old ways and return to the Lord. When we come as we are to the feet of the Lord Jesus, give Him the truth of our hearts in repentance, and once again ask Him to take over our lives in complete surrender, times of refreshing come from the Lord. We are filled in the power of the Holy Spirit to do what has been impossible in our lives.

In today’s Gospel proclamation we read about the Lord Jesus ap- pearing to His disciples in the upper room. Three days ago, the disciples witnessed the brutal crucifixion of their Master. They placed his mangled body in the tomb. They have not recovered from the shock of the events that took place. They were confused, startled, and frightened to see the Lord Jesus before them. The question that the Lord Jesus asked them under those circumstances was strange; “Why do doubts rise in your minds?”

Doubts and fears take over our minds when we are unable to see our circumstances through the word of God. When we go through an unexpected painful situation our first reactions come out of our broken nature; pain, anger, self-pity, shame, guilt… When the Risen Christ appeared to the disciples, they went through all the emotions. The disciples probably were trying to come to terms with their own behavior from the moment the Lord was captured to the moment He was crucified. They had to run away leaving Him behind out of fear for their own lives. They probably looked the other way when the Roman soldiers called for a volunteer to carry the cross of the Lord. I wonder if for one second they thought it would have been better for them if the Lord Jesus was a ghost!

The Risen Christ invites them to have fellowship with Him. He works through their fears, shame, betrayal from the inside out. When we sit down with the Lord even when we are still battling with our doubts, fears, shame, guilt, struggling to believe His word, He nourishes us from the inside. He awakens our spirit and suddenly the word of God comes alive. We recognize the Risen Christ in our midst. The result is, we too become His witnesses to the ends of the earth.
In today’s second reading St. John says;“I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world”.The life that the Lord Jesus has called us to live is impossible. If we did not know better, we could think He has set us up for failure. Distractions, and temptations are constantly in our face. The good news is sin can have power over us only till the moment we decide to return to God. The moment we turn to God, the power of sin is broken by the atoning sacrifices offered by the Lord Jesus. As we return to the Lord in repentance, have fellowship with Him in the Holy Eucharist, we are nourished from the inside to live the impossible life that He has called us to live as Christians.

Prayer: Abba Father, I know that I was made to live a life of worship of you. Give me the grace to remain connected to you by the intercession of your Son our Lord Jesus. I depend on the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in me. Amen

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