Third Sunday of Easter May 8, 2011

Currents in Theology and Mission, February 2011 | Go to article overview

Third Sunday of Easter May 8, 2011


Acts 2:14a, 36-41

Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19

1 Peter 1:17-23

Luke 24:13-35

First Reading

Acts 2:14a, 36-41 is the second of three sneak peeks at the first significant response to the Holy Spirit. Through his sermon prior to this moment, Peter's description of Christ reveals our Lord primarily in the suffering servant role, less as the source of atonement for humanity's sins. At verse 37 Peter's audience is ready to respond to this good news of a humiliated and exalted Lord. The crowds offer a question a Luke-Acts reader might recognize from Luke chapter 3, "What should we do?" Luke's theology involves not simply contemplation but also a resultant action. First in the presence of John the Baptizer, who is promising the coming of God's redemption through baptism; again in response to Peter, who describes Christ as the continuation of God's unending covenant. Receiving and witnessing the good news of Christ compels a response; the people are anxious to give thanks for what they have heard.

1 Pet 1:17-23 offers remarkable language of being made holy through Christ. Though the author does not drift into the words of adoption, there is a hint of this thinking that implies a separation that has since been brought to a close. At the end of verse 16, slightly out of reach of today's pericope, the writer quotes God, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." This insight is developed as the comparison is repeatedly made between what is perishable and what is imperishable. It is because of Christ that God's people are able to stand upright in the presence of the Lord, confident that, though all else will fade away, God's word will endure.

Luke 24:13-35 takes the reader on a journey from good news through the realities of disbelief back to the table of Christ. This is similar to the passage made in Psalm 23, which will be visited during Easter 4A. Along the road to Emmaus, two disciples act as evangelists, even as their voices were no doubt tinged with skepticism. The good news of Christ is revealed through tainted linens scarred by past failures and disappointments. The disciples know the stories, yet they are struggling to believe. It is not enough for them to hear the good news themselves. On the same day that the empty tomb is discovered they are hiking out of town. However, Christ's presence has still shaped them as they follow prior missionary models from Luke chapters 9 and 10 and invite Christ into their home. Once the holy meal is prepared in their sight, their skepticism is transformed into joy.

Pastoral Reflection

Nothing beats a satisfying, rejuvenating meal. …

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