• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 16 April 2021 16:57

Third Sunday of Easter - 2021

Written by Fr Elmer Ibarra SVD

 

Third Sunday of Easter

Luke 24:35-48

Fr Elmer Ibarra 150 BestWhen I was learning how to drive, my instructor insisted that before changing lanes or before entering the traffic, it was not enough to look at the side mirrors but also to turn my head to the back of my shoulder so that I would be able to cover my “blind spot”. In our eyes, we all have a blind spot because there’s a place in our retina that lacks any receptors and we can’t see any image that falls on this spot.

Apparently, the disciples had several blind spots or issues about Jesus that they hadn’t understood and yet Jesus was very patient to guide them so that what they learnt, they’d pass it to their followers, the future Christians.

First, the very obvious … Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. If you notice, Jesus appeared to his disciples when they were gathered as a community. He wanted to make sure that he was seen by every one of his close followers. And every time Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, his disciples were initially terrified - that’s why he had to greet them, “Peace be with you”. Jesus wanted to reassure his disciples that there was no need to be afraid because it was He and not some ghostly projection. And to further supplement Jesus’ assertion, he even got a piece of baked fish and ate it in front of them to prove that it was Jesus, all flesh and bones.

It is quite interesting to note that even if Jesus had already told them about his resurrection after his passion and death, not only once but three times, it seems that this message had fallen on a blind spot to his disciples. For his disciples and maybe for all of us after seeing how Jesus got arrested, tortured and his body broken from the crucifixion and died and buried, how could this same Jesus  appear again to his disciples alive and kicking? Perhaps his disciples got blinded by Jesus’ suffering and death so that they couldn’t believe that resurrection would be possible and yet Jesus was there in front of them.

Second, the deeper issue of the role of the Messiah. The disciples followed Jesus thinking that he was the one sent by God to kick out the oppressive Roman empire and restore the kingship of David in Israel. And yet, even if Jesus had insisted that his coming to this world was not to restore a worldly kingdom but instead to restore our relationship with God by breaking the bonds of sin and death, this message had fallen again on a blind spot of the disciples.

Again, Jesus after his resurrection had to explain to his disciples the meaning of scripture to be able to understand that what Jesus offers is not another temporary relief but an infinite solution to the root of all evil not only of the Roman Empire but of the world and that is sin. By wiping away the sin of the world, our relationship to God is now restored, and this time not because of animal sacrifices but the sacrifice of the innocent Lamb of God.

A few years ago, I went to Thailand to give a retreat to the SVD confreres assigned there. After the retreat we went to a Buddhist-Hindu park in Nong Kai, northern part of Thailand near the border to Laos. I was very impressed with the park with different statues of the Buddha and various Hindu gods. However, there was one statue that I found quite scary. The statue of a giant cobra with seven heads, all with fearsome teeth and long tongues and at the middle a sitting Buddha who looks so serene. For me, because I have no idea of the context since I still lack knowledge about Buddhism, I find the statue quite frightening.

I guess the same is true whenever a person who has no idea about Christianity and comes into one of our churches and sees a big image of a dead Jesus crucified. They must be quite frightened and must be asking why we have an image like that at our churches.

Well … we have to understand and believe that it is through the suffering and death of Jesus the victory of death has been achieved. When Jesus said the words “It is finished.” Those words are not words of defeat but words of victory. And his resurrection is the final act to confirm that sin has been defeated. So for us an image of the crucified Christ is not an image of failure and defeat but it is an image of triumph and victory.

As we recall today the apparition of Jesus to his disciples. Let us be reminded that he continues to appear to us to this very day. Whenever the sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated, we see Jesus in the form of his body and blood. And we continue to celebrate Easter because what we worship is not a dead Messiah but a truly alive Jesus Christ as he has proven to his disciples on that first Easter Sunday. So let us fix our blind spots by turning our heads occasionally by reading scripture.