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Scripture Study: Third Sunday of Easter

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By Marc Massery (Apr 13, 2018)
Find the readings for this weekend here.

Sunday, April 15 — Third Sunday of Easter
Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
• Ps 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9
• 1 Jn 2:1-5A
• Lk 24:35-48


When God knit us in our mothers' wombs, He foresaw every sin we would ever commit, every broken commandment. Still, He created us, because He loved us, wanted to know us, and wanted us to know Him.
 
In the second reading at Mass this weekend, we learn how drastically sin has affected our relationship with the Creator. It says, "The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments. Those who say, 'I know him,' but do not keep his commandments are liars, and the truth is not in them" (1 Jn 2:3-4).

Since we have sinned and fallen from grace, we do not know God as He is. So, we rebel against Him and ignore His commandments. Our rebellion has caused us to have a distorted image of the heavenly Father. Often, we conflate how we feel about ourselves with how God feels about us. But we cannot compare our human compassion for one another with God's compassion for suffering humanity. He revealed the truth of His immense love for us by becoming incarnate. In fact, He willingly took on the pain of all the world just so that He could restore us to His friendship and give us the grace to follow Him.

Becoming man and dying for us was not God's backup plan. The Gospel reading this weekend says, "Thus 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" (Lk 24:46-47). God foresaw His own suffering and death from the very beginning and decided to redeem us anyway.

His pain was not a trifling matter, either — it was not easier for Him to suffer rejection and Crucifixion because He was divine. God became fully man, making Himself vulnerable to the most intense suffering.

In the Gospel reading, Christ proves to His Apostles after His Resurrection that He is, indeed, fully human. The Gospel of Luke says, "Then he said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? 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" (Lk 24:38-39). Then He showed them His wounds, and even ate a piece of baked fish in front of them. It says the Apostles became "incredulous for joy and were amazed" (Lk 24:41). The Apostles now had no doubt — God truly was a man raised from the dead.

Whatever suffering we experience in life, no matter how intense, God intimately knows our pain. No suffering comes to us that doesn't first pass through Him. Though it may feel sometimes like God remains distant as we suffer, nothing could be further from the truth. Through the incarnation, through becoming man, God entered directly into our pain.

And of course, it did not end there. He arose from the dead, reversing death, giving us an opportunity to live a life filled with His grace. When we follow His ways, He reveals Himself to us, and we can come to know Him as He originally intended.

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