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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

3rd SUNDAY OF EASTER

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This Weekend we celebrate the third Sunday of Easter it seems strange that we have come so far from the ashes of Ash Wednesday right through to Easter and Jesus resurrection but time waits for no one. In Jesus resurrection we are given the possibility of forgiveness, of being forgiven and of forgiving each other. That new possibility and its radical mercy should never be understated or forgotten as we celebrate the joy of Easter. We celebrate the resurrection of the one who affirms for us that our God has walked on our streets, confronted the evil we confront and suffered for us, even though we celebrate Easter Joy the craziness of some people is still there.

The resurrection assures us that life can come out of death and good can overcome evil and it does. It doesn’t always seem that way these days but for people of faith that is people who have faith in God and Faith in each other nothing is impossible. Of recent times we are being harangued by unyielding ideologues that say I am right even though they are inherently wrong. After a tragedy like Paris, Brussels, or whatever there is a strong response of self-sacrifice and compassion from everyone to help the victims and those affected by the violence.

Then with the passage of time we go back to where we were before the crisis, preoccupied by our concerns and yet through all of this bad stuff God is with us remember at Christmas we sing about Jesus, Emanuel and that means as we all know that God with us. After the earth shattering events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday Peter and the others were ready to put the events of those days behind them and return home to what they did before they came across Jesus. But Jesus won’t let them go. In our Gospel Story for this Sunday he comes to the shore fishing for them. He gets their attention, as he did when he first called them, with a large catch of fish. He prepares breakfast for them and invites them to eat, “Come, and have breakfast.”

After the meal Jesus asks Peter three times about the reality of his love. Insisting on love is something of a mark with Jesus. Three times Peter affirms his love, as three times Jesus insists on it. And when Peter professes his love Jesus commissions him to care for his flock when he says feed my sheep. And that is what Peter does – as we hear in Sunday’s first reading. In his ministry of preaching and healing Peter gets through to many people, and the authorities become nervous at the ability of Peter and the apostles to work in the name of Jesus. In spite of the opposition Peter will continue insisting on his love for Jesus and this insistence will take him to martyrdom in Rome.

No matter whether the believer is new or old, a pew sitter or a leader of people, the call of Christ is the same: “Follow me.” Following Christ means life in the community where we are. Are we, like Peter, spreading the net for new believers and professing a true love for our Savior? Or are we on the sidelines watching others doing the work when we should really be out there doing the work with them? At the end of the day whatever happens we remember that God is with us and wants us to be with him now and in the future, He is with us in good and bad times so let us take courage this Easter to go forward in faith.

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