Father Valan Arockiaswamy

Father Valan

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HOMILIES

Close Dear Audience,
For better understanding of the spiritual message behind this homily I kindly remind you to first read and contemplate the biblical texts before reading or listening to my preaching - a human reflection on the Word of God!

Third Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Apr 18, 2021 Views 253 Listen 1 Downloads 0
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First Reading

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles (3:13-15, 17-19)

Peter said to the people: "The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, whom you handed over and denied in Pilate's presence when he had decided to release him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses. Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did; but God has thus brought to fulfillment what He had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer. Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away."

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalms of David (4:2,4,7-8,9)


(R) Lord, let your face shine on us.

When I call, answer me, O my just God, you who relieve me when I am in distress; have pity on me, and hear my prayer! (R)

Know that the Lord does wonders for His faithful one; the Lord will hear me when I call upon Him. (R)

O Lord, let the light of your countenance shine upon us! You put gladness into my heart. (R)

As soon as I lie down, I fall peacefully asleep; for you alone, O Lord, bring security to my dwelling. (R)

Second Reading

A reading from the First Letter of Saint John (2:1-5a)

My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocated with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.

The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments. Those who say, "I know him," but do not keep his commandments are liars, and the truth is not in them. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him.

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.

Gospel

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (23:35-48)

The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this, Jesus stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have." And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, "Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things."

(P) The Gospel of the Lord.
(R) Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Homily

Two cows were out in a field eating grass. One cow said to the other cow, "Mooooo". "Hey", the other cow replied, "I was just about to say the same thing."

If any of you think that I am going to talk about the same thing that I had the previous two weeks, you are right. Because since Easter we have been reading and reflecting on the appearances of the Risen Christ to his disciples.

On Easter day we read John's account of Mary Magdalene encountering the resurrected Christ at the tomb. Last Sunday we read John's version of the two appearances of Christ to his disciples at two different times. Today's gospel is the continuation of the story which recounts the appearance of Jesus to two of his disciples on their way home to Emmaus. Even though you are probably quite familiar with the story, allow me to briefly summarize it so that we can understand today's text well.

On the day Jesus rose from the dead, two of his disciples were walking to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. Perhaps they were going back home totally discouraged and dejected, lost in grief and despair. As they were travelling, a man joined them. The man asked them what they were talking about as they walked. They were surprised that the man had not heard about the recent events surrounding Jesus - the trial, suffering, crucifixion, death and the empty tomb and so on. So they proceeded to tell the man everything. The man walked with them, and animated the conversation by quoting the scriptures regarding Christ. When they arrived in Emmaus that evening, the disciples invited the man to eat with them. He did, and as he broke the bread and blessed the meal, Luke (24:31), they recognized him to be the resurrected Jesus. They realized that Jesus was not only alive but right there with them. Jesus then vanished from their sight.

The two disciples then returned at once to Jerusalem and told the others about their encounter with Jesus. I believe that it occurred on the same evening of Easter Sunday, when the disciples were huddled together in a locked room in fear of the Jews, as we heard in last week's reading. When the two disciples were on their way home from Jerusalem, they were terribly disappointed and depressed about Jesus' death. But now they had strong grounds for their belief. The tomb was empty. Angels had appeared and announced that Jesus has been raised from the dead. The man explained to them the references made in scriptures about Christ's death and resurrection. Moreover they had a personal encounter with the risen Lord. So, having convinced of Jesus' resurrection, they said to the others, "It is true! The Lord has risen", Luke (24:43).

While they were telling their story, once again Jesus suddenly appeared in their midst. But the disciples, in spite of the testimony from the women and the two disciples, reacted with fear and skepticism. They still could not believe their eyes when Jesus appeared before them. They could not rightly comprehend what was happening. They were powerless. They thought they were seeing a ghost. But Jesus did some amazing things to make them believe that he was indeed alive and real.

First, Jesus calmed the disciples by offering them peace. The greeting of peace was a sign of his love and forgiveness for them. Second, he showed them the wounds in his hands and feet, and invited them to touch them and feel him. Third, he ate fish with them. Fourth, he reminded them of his own teachings and explained to them the need for his suffering, death and resurrection. Fifth, he opened their minds to understand the scriptures and what they say, and particularly how the law, the prophets and the psalms, had foretold about all the events that would take place.

Lastly, he reminded them that they were not to be mere believers but also be the preachers of his gospel because they were witnesses of all these things.

Today we are blessed to know and believe in what the disciples had seen and heard. However, like the disciples, we may not understand just about anything and everything happening around us. But, in times of trouble and sorrow, despair and gloom, Jesus makes his presence known to us and offers a peace that transcends human understanding. He also reaches out to us today in ways that we too can recognize him, touch him, feel his presence and experience him. Besides, he wants to become everything to us and be part of our daily life. And if we respond to his call and enter into a personal relationship with him, he opens our minds to understand the scriptures.

I regard the Holy Mass as the most opportune time for us to experience Jesus Christ intimately and for our souls to be filled with peace as the disciples were, even though we may not be able to see him physically and hear him speak directly. It is completely possible to have a personal relationship with the Lord even though we have never seen or touched him. All we have to do is to believe in God's gift of peace offered through the Holy Eucharist, and accept it joyfully and gratefully. If we receive the body and blood, and the gospel of Jesus Christ with reverence, faith and love, we will certainly experience all the blessings promised to us.

At the same time like the apostles, we are not only called to be believers but also witnesses and preachers of the Word. We are not to keep our faith to ourselves bur rather to share it with others so that, as Saint John says in today's second reading "others may not sin", and even if they sin, they may know that Jesus Christ, the righteous one has personally paid the price for their sins, 1 John (2:1-5). However, we are not to share only our own experience of the Lord but courageously and sincerely share the truths of the Word of God.

(P) Amen.

God Bless You!

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