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3rd Sunday of Easter

  • First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 3:13-15.17-19
  • Second Reading: 1John 2:1-5
  • Paslm 4
  • Gospel: Luke 24:35-48

How can we know Christ is risen? Would be gathered here today, if Christ had not risen? What was the spark that lit the flame of faith, which has passed down the generations, for two millennia to ourselves? The risen Christ surely must be with us to sustain our faith, and to assure its survival through all that has happened during that time. Just as at the Vigil Mass, our candles were lit one from another and from the Easter candle, so the light and flame of faith has spread from small beginnings to a mighty illumination.

How is the risen, and ascended, and absent Christ, present to us? He is with us in Word and in Sacrament; in prayer and in silent thought; in the stranger and the little one; in the still, small voice of conscience; in the daily scripture of our lives; in others who cross our paths. He is no longer present in the manner that he was to the apostles immediately after the resurrection. He presents himself to them in bodily form, not a ghost, but a scarred yet barely recognisable friend who eats with them and walks with them. Still, they eventually recognise their friend and Redeemer in his explanations of the Sacred Scripture and in the breaking of bread.

This is not the same Jesus who was with them before the resurrection. He is somewhat different, yet somewhat he same and sometimes they don’t recognise him at first and sometimes they don’t believe at first. Yet this is the same Christ who first came among them, who spoke to them of the promises of the Sacred Scripture; who took leave of them, promising to be with them in the Eucharist.

This is the Christ who coaxed the flame of faith within them, even when it seemed snuffed out by fear and doubt. This is the Christ who promised eternal life and salvation through forgiveness of sins; a peace the world can’t give, and a communion which will be eternal. The risen Christ lives and is with us as we gather, in the many disguises that he wears. He has promised, after all, to be with us wherever we gather in his name.