Reflection on Today's Readings, Thursday of Easter Octave, Year B, April 8th, 2021
Texts: Acts 3:11-26; Ps. 8:2.5-9; Luke 24:35-48
The mode of existence of the risen Christ is different from the one before it. Yesterday He walked seven miles, discussing with his disciples, and yet they did not recognise Him. Even Mary Magdalene, who could be called one of His closest friends, did not recognise Him until He called her name. These were those who should have not mistaken Him for another person. He also appeared and disappeared. Today He appeared among His disciples and they thought He was a ghost; they were afraid. Despite the new mode of existence, He proved that He was a person, with soul and body like us. He says, Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.” He even ate food to prove to them that He was still a person as He had been before resurrection.
However, Jesus Christ remain the same in His person, but the means of contact with Him changed after resurrection. After resurrection we can only make contact with Him through faith. By faith we have contact with Jesus Christ and experience Him as person, just like the people who made contact with Him and experienced Him before resurrection. He eats with us, He walks with us, He prays with us, He plays with us, He lives with us as He did with the people before His resurrection. Those of us who have relationship with Jesus Christ through faith we are not at disadvantage or less fortunate than those who experienced Him before resurrection. The only difference is that our contact with Him is no longer through senses but through faith in Him. Now, it is in faith that we live with Jesus Christ; it is by that we unite with Him and have relationship with Him.
Peter, in today's first reading, speaks on faith in Jesus Christ. He says, . "To this we are witnesses. And his name, by faith in his name, has made this man strong whom you see and know; and the faith which is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all." This tells us that it is by faith we obtain salvation through Jesus. He is our salvation and contact with Him is contact with salvation. He is our salvation because He gives salvation to us.
Peter reminds us that the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ is not a scandal but the fulfilment of God's plan earlier foretold. His suffering and death was for our sins, that through faith in Him, sins may be forgiven. Hence, Peter says, "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old." By faith in Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven and forgiveness of sins is to be preached to all nations.
Peter continues to tell us that it was the promise of God that salvation should come to us through Jesus Christ. He says, "Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet from your brethren as he raised me up. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul that does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.'" This tells us that it is by keeping His words that we are saved. This means faith requires the keeping of the words of Jesus Christ; keeping His words means living by His gospel values.
We are to know that there is no salvation anywhere but in Jesus Christ. This salvation is obtained by faith in Him. We live now in era of faith. The people before Jesus Christ lived in hope of Messiah while we live now in faith.
Lord our God, grant us, your people, growth in faith and help us to listen to Your Son and keep His words. Amen.
Fr. Andrew Olowomuke