Our lesson from Acts follows the healing of a man lame from birth at the Beautiful Gate to the temple in Jerusalem. His healing was accomplished there by disciples “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth” (3:6). Peter then addressed the crowd at the portico, giving a full account of the Christian message. He explained that the lame man was given perfect health “by faith in his name.” Then, he offered them all the opportunity to repent their ignorant ways and turn to God for their sins to be wiped out. Here is some of the very first preaching of the Good News following the resurrection!
The psalm appointed for this Sunday carries on the theme of the help and health to be found in the power of the Lord. In difficult times, we cry out to God because we have faith that he hears us. Because we know that help has come from God before, we ask the Lord to “lift up the light of [his] countenance upon us” once again.
The first letter of John reflects on the Father’s love for us, seen in his making us his children. Through receiving his love and following in his ways, we are led progressively toward being like Christ. This points us toward the consummation of God’s love for us in the ultimate resurrection: “what we will be has not yet been revealed,” but we know that “when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.”
This Sunday’s gospel comes after Jesus’ unrecognized appearance to two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus. On that day, he answered their invitation to stay with them for the evening meal, and when he took the bread and blessed and broke it, they recognized him as their Lord. Then Jesus left them and returned to Jerusalem. The two then found the others, and they shared their experiences of the Lord’s appearing among them. While they were talking, Jesus appeared among them. They were terrified, thinking he must be a ghost! But Jesus demonstrated to them that he is in his body: “look at my hands and my feet and see that it is I myself,” and then he wonderful invitation, “Touch me.” He asked for a piece of fish and then ate it in front of them. Finally, he reminded them of his words before about his suffering, death, and rising from the dead. They have been witnesses to these things, and now they are to go out and proclaim his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
In times of need, how have you experienced God’s love for you as his child? How have you seen Christ and known his presence in the loving care of others? And, most importantly, how can you share that love with others in your daily life?