Peace Be With You! | Friar Reflections | Third Sunday of Easter

Dear Parishioners,

As we look upon the Resurrection of Jesus and its redemptive act of love for us as it effects the forgiveness of sin, it also needs to be seen as a gift of peace towards all humanity. Our readings this Sunday all emphasize repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Acts of the Apostles urges repentance for forgiveness of sins. John’s letter views Christ as an offering for the world and reminds us that if we sin, we have Jesus as our personal intercessor before God. In Luke’s Gospel, which happens to be the tail end of the Emmaus Story, we hear Jesus opening the minds of the Apostles to the Scriptures, telling them they are to preach repentance after first greeting them with the words “Peace be with you.”

Peace connotes the restoration of relationships, between God and His people and His people among themselves.  When Jesus stood among them with the word “peace,” He restored them to relationship with Himself. The barrier of death has been overcome.  Jesus and His disciples are united. He is not a ghost, and they do not have to be afraid. He is alive and real. Nor do we need to be afraid.

At some point after the Resurrection, the disciples might have wondered, “Jesus rising from the dead is great, but what now?” “What’s next?” What’s next is for them to go out and preach the good news of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, to be preached in Jesus’ name. Jesus is now teaching and commissioning them.

Last week we read that the Apostles are to forgive sins and indeed, this is the greatest work we can carry out as Christians, to forgive.  As God the Father forgave us through Jesus’ death on the cross, so we forgive others. That example of forgiving others can lead us all towards a peaceful existence with one another.

We are invited in this time of Easter to deepen our faith in the risen Christ by renewing again the promises of our Baptism:  to die to self and to live in the Lord. Words are easy and actions can be costly. We can ask ourselves: “Can I truly offer forgiveness and ask for forgiveness too?” “Do I really trust that my own sins are forgiven?” “Do I know that Christ died and then was raised to life and through that, our whole world was changed forever?” The answer to all of these questions should be a resounding “yes!”

After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to convey the message of peace to his followers, and that includes all of us. May we be open the grace of peace in our lives proclaimed to us by Jesus himself!

Peace be with you!
– Fr. Zack