(3rd Sunday of Easter: Acts 3:13-19; 1 John 2:1-5; Luke 24:35-48)
Today’s title quotes Mary’s first words to the children at La Salette. She adds, “Don’t be afraid.” We recognize the pattern, in reverse, from the Scriptures.
In last Sunday’s Gospel, Thomas was invited to come so close as to touch Jesus’ wounds. Today, Luke tells a similar story. While two disciples were telling how they had met Jesus on the road to Emmaus, suddenly, there he was!
He reassured them, “Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.”
In both accounts, Jesus’ first words are, “Peace be with you.” Of course, this might simply have been the normal greeting, “Shalom,” but the context gives it a richer meaning. The invitation to touch is viewed as a way of restoring inner peace.
It is almost as if the Church this week is giving us a second chance, a second invitation to recognize Christ crucified, Christ risen, and to desire ever more zealously to be his faithful disciples.
Peter’s speech in today’s first reading acknowledges that his audience missed their chance to accept Jesus as the Redeemer and, instead, put him to death. But all is not lost. If we read between the lines, Peter is saying, “Even you can be saved.” By telling the people to repent and be converted, he is inviting them to draw closer to the one who can give them true peace.
Is that not what Our Lady tells us? Even we can be saved. She reminds us in her own way of what we hear today in the second reading: “Jesus is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.”
After calming his disciples’ fears, Jesus said, “It is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” All are called to come closer.
Maximin said that, when he and Mélanie ran down to the Beautiful Lady, “No one could have passed between her and us.” She came to bring her people closer to her Son, to restore us to peace with him. We are called to make that message known.
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.