21 April 2012

'You are witnesses to this.' Sunday Reflections, 3rd Sunday of Easter Year B

Supper at Emmaus, Rembrandt, c.1629

Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)  

Gospel Luke 24:35-48 (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

The disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of bread.

They were still talking about this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you!' In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, 'Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.' And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great that they could not believe it, and they stood dumbfounded; so he said to them, 'Have you anything here to eat?' And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.

Then he told them, 'This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms, has to be fulfilled.' He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, 'So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.'
An Soiscéal Lúcas 24:35-48 (Gaeilge, Irish)

Agus rinne siad féin ar tharla sa tslí a aithris, agus mar a d’aithin siad é i mbriseadh an aráin. 

Le linn na cainte sin dóibh, sheas sé féin ina measc agus dúirt leo: “Síocháin daoibh!” Ghlac siad scéin agus uamhan, á mheas gur ag féachaint ar spiorad a bhí siad. Ach dúirt sé leo: “Cad é an scanradh atá oraibh, agus cad chuige a bhfuil ceisteanna ag teacht in bhur gcroí! Féachaigí mo lámha agus mo chosa, gur mé féin atá ann. Láimhseálaigí mé, agus tuigigí nach mbíonn feoil ná cnámha ag spiorad mar a fheiceann sibh atá agamsa.” Á rá sin dó, thaispeáin sé dóibh a lámha agus a chosa. Agus ó bhí siad gan a chreidiúint fós le barr áthais, agus iad ag déanamh ionadh de, dúirt sé leo: “An bhfuil rud ar bith anseo agaibh a d’íosfaí?” Thug siad blúire d’iasc rósta dó. Ghlac sé é agus d’ith ina láthair é.

Ansin dúirt sé leo: “Is iad seo na focail a labhair mé libh agus mé fós in bhur gcuideachta: ‘Ní foláir na nithe uile a chomhlíonadh atá scríofa mar gheall orm i ndlí Mhaois agus sna fáithe agus sna sailm.’” Ansin d’oscail sé a n-aigne chun go dtuigfidís na scrioptúir, agus dúirt sé leo: “Is amhlaidh sin atá scríofa, go bhfulaingeodh an Críost agus go n éireodh sé ó mhairbh an treas lá, agus go mbeadh aithrí agus maithiúnas peacaí á bhfógairt ina ainm do na náisiúin uile, ag tosú ó Iarúsailéim. Is finnéithe sibhse ar na nithe seo.

Appearance While the Apostles are at Table, Duccio di Buoninsegna, c. 1308-11

Jesus tells the Eleven Apostles in today’s gospel that in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this

Repentance for the forgiveness of sins includes healing. The Gospels are full of stories of the healing of individuals. In the story of the paralyzed man let down through the roof by his friends so that Jesus could see him the Lord says to him first, My son, your sins are forgiven (Mark 2: 6). Only after that does he heal the man. In the story of the woman caught in adultery we read that Jesus looked up at the women and said ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again’ (John 8:10-11). In the experience of her repentance and being forgiven by Jesus the woman was healed.

Jesus tells us that this message would be preached to all the nations, and not only to the Apostles but to each of us, You are witnesses to this.

This very weekend that is happening in Beirut, Lebanon. A Rachel’s Vineyard retreat is being led by Bernadette from Ireland. This is a weekend of healing for women and men directly affected by abortion. It is a weekend where individuals can hear God’s forgiving and healing word in a safe and loving situation, where others who have experienced God’s healing love in this particular context are witness to this.

Every single one of us struggles with our sinfulness. Our experience of others forgiving us and of God himself forgiving us directly in the sacrament of confession can enable us to be witnesses to this.

Please pray that all involved in the retreat in Beirut will experience very powerfully the healing power of God’s love and that those who are healed will go on to become witnesses to this to others suffering from the pain of loss and of the awareness of their own sinfulness.

Lebanon is a country that has suffered greatly through wars. The Civil War lasted from 1975 to 1990 with great loss of life. But below is a joyful proclamation in Arabic of the Resurrection of Jesus recorded last year in a shopping mall in Beirut. Around 39 percent of the country’s population of around 4,250,000 are Christians and more than half the Christians are Catholics of the Maronite Rite. The rest are Catholics of other rites and members of various Orthodox churches. The video too may remind us that most of the Christians in the Middle East are Arabs and descendants of the earliest Christians.

You can get English subtitles by clicking on 'cc' at the bottom of the screen. But the joy of the Resurrection comes across in the Arabic. The singers, I've read, are all professionals.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday (belated) Father Sean!!

Fr Seán Coyle said...

Thank you, Marion!