To Witness for Christ

Luke 24: 35-48
Acts 3: 11-26 / Psa 8

…repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. (Luke 24: 48)

Lord, we’ve received Your Word today:
To preach repentance and forgiveness;
Grant me the grace to find a way
To share this message as Your witness.

The two disciples recounted what had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of the bread. As they were saying this, Jesus Himself stood among them. But they were startled and frightened, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do questions arise 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.” And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate before them. Then He said to them, “These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24: 35-48)

Reflection

The Resurrection account continues on this first week of the Easter season with Jesus appearing to most of His disciples in Jerusalem. It was quite natural that the initial reaction of His followers would be shock and fear, believing that they were seeing an apparition. Jesus had to prove that he was ‘back in the flesh’ by asking for something to eat. It was only when their doubts and fears had finally turned to relief and joy that the Messiah explained to them that He was the fulfillment of all the prophecies in Scriptures. Once they had been enlightened, Jesus gave them His mandate: that they must preach His passion, death, and Resurrection, as well as repentance and the forgiveness of sins in His Name. They could not avoid this responsibility because as the Lord told them, “You are witnesses of these things.” (Lk. 24:48) After St. Peter healed a crippled beggar “in the Name of Jesus Christ” (1st Reading), he declared before the Jews: “The Author of life you put to death, but God raised Him from the dead; of this we are witnesses” (Acts 3:15).

This was the whole point of Christ’s passion, death and Resurrection. Our Savior had to suffer much and give up His life for the remission of our sins, and then come back to life again to prove His divinity. Having realized this, we are moved to a radical conversion of faith and repentance, and then become agents of change ourselves. We become His witnesses, simply because we believe in the veracity of the Gospel. Have we not been touched by God’s Word? Have we not realized this awesome act of love that our God has done for our salvation? King David did, when he was moved to write in one of his most beautiful psalms (Responsorial): “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? And yet You have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor” (Psa 8:4-5). For all the trouble that our God has done for us, for all the love that He has shown to us, how can we deny that we are witnesses of these things?

Father God, we praise and thank You for leading us to a renewed life in Your Spirit. May our lives reflect the Good News of the Gospel, so that as Christ’s witnesses we may be worthy of following His Resurrection into Your kingdom. Amen.

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