IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD, THERE IS JOY AND PEACE (CF. PS. 16:11)
📕Acts 3:13-15, 17-19ab; Ps 4:2, 4, 7 and 9 (R.v.7b); 1 John 2:1-5a; Luke 24:35-48
Imagine the pains that the disciples had to bear at the death of Jesus. The experience must have been like that of the chicks that were separated from the mother hen. They were now exposed to persecution and so, they started hiding away for safety. That explains the setting of todays Gospel where Jesus came to meet them behind closed doors. That was also the reason why some of them were running away to Emmaus.
So after calming the fears of those who were on their way to Emmaus, and transforming them into witnesses, he came also to the eleven apostles to also give them more reason to believe. The eleven would be his major witnesses on earth, but they would not be the only witnesses.
Can you see why the Church lays so much importance on the magisterial office but does not play down on the contribution of other members of the Church?
The angels had already given the message to some women (cf. Luke 24:4-8) and Jesus gave the same message to those on their way to Emmaus (cf. Luke 24:13-32). But he still had to come back to the eleven because they would be the foundation upon which his church would be built.
Notice one essential part of that visit His first words to them were, Peace be with you (Luke 24:32). This is the peace that had eluded them for a very long time due to the fear of persecution. But now, his presence would restore them to that peace.
Peter wanted the Jews to also share from that peace. Hence, in addressing them, as we see in the First Reading, he invited them to repent of their sins so that they would be forgiven and will then have a share in the peace that the presence of Jesus brings.
At the celebration of the Holy Mass, that presence of Jesus is continuously being renewed. That is why the Rite of Peace is included in the Mass.
Since we can only reap the full benefits that come from the Holy Mass when we celebrate it worthily (cf. 1 Cor. 11:26-32), St John, in the Second Reading, encourages us to be faithful by keeping the commandments of God. But if we happen to make mistake at any time, we have an advocate who is Jesus (cf. 1 John 2:1).
This advocate, in turn, has given his apostles the power to forgive sins (cf. John 20:22-23). Do we still doubt why we should go to confession at the hands of a priest?
May the Spirit enlighten us and clear our doubts so that we may strongly believe in Jesus. And by believing, we may have life in his name (John 20:31) and also become strong witnesses to Christ in the face of the doubting world, and for peace in the world. Amen.
Have a joyous and peaceful Sunday. Peace be with you.