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III Sunday Of Easter B – Witnesses Of The Resurrection

Readings: Acts 3:13-15.17-19; 1 John 2:1-5; Luke 24:35-48

Announcing the Resurrection of Jesus

“Of this you are witnesses”: this is how today’s Gospel concludes. The experience of the Risen One is not something personal, intimate: it is joy to overflow to others, it is enthusiasm that becomes contagious. The apostles immediately become “witnesses of his resurrection” (Acts 1:22; 4:33). The great proclamation of Peter and all the Apostles is precisely that “you killed the author of life, but God raised him up, and of this we are witnesses” (First Reading: Acts 3:14-15.26; cf. 2:22-36; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40-41; 17:18…): with this task they are sent to all the nations (Gospel: Lk 24:47), because Christ is Savior “of all the world” (Second Reading: 1 John 2:1-5)!

All called to evangelization

Today we too are called by Jesus to be witnesses of his resurrection: we all have this vocation, priests, sisters and lay people. Paul’s admonition applies to all: “It is a duty for me to preach the gospel: woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16); we are all to proclaim the Word “on every occasion, opportune and untimely” (2 Tim. 4:2). And if priests and consecrated men and women do this “institutionally,” it is to my lay brothers and sisters that I want to reserve a special reflection today: indeed, the Council tells us, “Every lay person must be a witness to the resurrection and life of the Lord Jesus and a sign of the living God before the world” (LG 38); “The laity are especially called to make the Church present and active in those places and circumstances in which she cannot become salt of the earth except through them… It therefore weighs upon all the laity the glorious burden of working so that the divine plan of salvation may reach more and more every day all people of all times and of the whole earth. Let every way therefore be open to them (ed. note: !!!) so that… they too may actively participate in the saving work of the Church” (LG 33); “Christ… fulfills his prophetic office… also through the laity, whom he therefore constitutes his witnesses and provides with the sense of faith and the grace of the word (cf. Acts 2:17-18; Rev 19:10)… In this office appears of great value that state of life which is sanctified by a special sacrament, namely, married to family life. There one has the exercise and an excellent school of the apostolate of the laity…. The Christian family loudly proclaims and the present virtues of the Kingdom of God and the hope of the blessed life… The laity therefore, even when occupied in temporal cares, can and must exercise a valuable action for the evangelization of the world…; it is necessary for all to cooperate in the expansion and increase of the Kingdom of Christ in the world” (LG 35).

In love with Jesus

“Must”, “must”: why then are we so lukewarm and fearful? Because perhaps we have not personally encountered the Risen One in meditating on Scripture, because we devote too little time to prayerful contemplation of His Word: we need Christ, too, to “open our minds to the understanding of Scripture” (Lk 24:45), “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets” (Lk 24:27) and “in the Psalms” (Lk 24:44), so that we can say like Paul, “He has appeared to me also!” (1 Cor 15:8). Or perhaps it is because we do not open ourselves generously to the Holy Spirit, who “leads us into all truth” (Jn 16:13), who gives us “power to express ourselves” (Acts 2:4; 4:8), who “speaks in us” even “before governors and kings” (Mt 10:18-20), who “gives us witness” so that “we also bear witness” (Jn 15:26-27), so that we become “witnesses we and the Holy Spirit” (Acts 5:32), in a unity that gives us strength, courage, happiness. ..

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