During his earthly ministry, Jesus chose disciples out of those who believed in him basing on four common elements, namely; those willing to follow him; those who accept to convert; ready for total commitment and willingness renounce anything. Every authentic call to discipleship must necessarily result into mission and ministry. Being a disciple is manifested in witnessing what Jesus did and said cf. Acts 10:39 because witness transforms one into smart believer.
First reading: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
In this reading, Peter appeals to the Jews to recognize that they were fully implicated in the events that led to Jesus’ crucifixion. Prior to this appeal, he had cured a crippled beggar asking for alms. After having made the man walk, he complemented the healing with words that were intended to provoke a revolution. First, Peter identified Jesus using a series of titles familiar to his Jewish brethren. Invoking the patriarchs, he called Jesus the glorified servant of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Peter knew that this title “my servant (child) my chosen one, with whom I am well pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit” Isaiah 42:1 would provoke conviction.
Peter presents Jesus as the author of life and source of good deeds who intended to offer Jews another chance for conversion since they had rejected previous ones out of ignorance. When such opportunity is embraced, both Jews and Gentiles become people of the resurrection. With this prophetic move, the choice to believe or to reject the good news rested on the individual. Jesus’ resurrection motivates every individual to decide either to convert or to remain sinners.
Second reading: 1John 2:1-5
Although the person behind 1John never identifies himself, this correspondence does reveal facts to relay on. His tender form of address, “my little ones” 1John 2:1, reveals the beloved disciple. He was concerned that the process of their discipleship progress steadily so that they are protected from sin. His knowledge of human experience was realistic; he knew that all would be prone to sin unless they made recourse to the person of Jesus Christ our parakletos /intercessor/advocate and sacrifice. Parakletos comes from the verb parakalein, which means to comfort as in Genesis 37:55 same as a defense attorney cf. Romans 8:34. Risen and glorified, Jesus comforts his followers with constant help and counsel and he is forever present.
The other word which defines the saving work of Jesus is hilasmos meaning pacifying someone who has been offended. Forgiving and restoring a lost relationship removes the taint of guilt. In Jesus’ capacity as hilasmos, he has restored humankind to a right relationship with God what Paul described as justification. Here John emphases the universal scope of Jesus’ saving sacrifice, not for a few but for many sinners of the world. Jesus is all goodness and love who extends the love of God to humankind. To accept this invitation is to know God; to know God is to know love; to love is to obey. This is the only logic acceptable for those who have begun the life of discipleship.
Gospel: Luke 24:35-48
Believing in God is a principal component for balanced existence sustained by continuous Catechesis. What is catechesis? It is an ongoing formation which helps believers acquire and deepen their faith in God through rites and instructions. Authentic catechesis imparts both divine message and continuous revelation offered by the Holy Spirit. Catechesis draws from Church’s rich and diverse heritage that is biblical and traditional. Catechesis makes us sound in matters of faith and doctrine.
As the days and weeks after Jesus’ resurrection stretched into months and years, the early Christian community ensured its survival and growth by sustaining a clear tradition. Strengthened by shared faith in the risen Lord and nourished through the breaking of the bread, the first believers were eager to impart the good news of salvation to others. As Luke points it out, this process of catechizing begun in Jerusalem and extend beyond. An important aspect of this good news was the announcing of penance and remission of sins. Difficult to understand was the prospect that Messiah had to suffer, die and rise from the dead cf. Luke 24:47, but this was the truth.
In recounting the appearances of the risen Jesus, Luke displays special sensitivity for his audience by presenting Jesus inviting those who remained fearfully incredulous about his resurrection to come, look and touch him cf. Luke 24:39. For those panicky and disturbed, Luke portrays a real Jesus, eating, talking with and teaching his disciples cf. Luke 24:42-45. Aware of the circulating rumor that Jesus had not actually died on the cross but was taken down and hidden by his friends, Luke was careful to show that the risen Jesus could now suddenly and wondrously appear in their midst cf. Luke 24:36. Transformed and glorified, yet the same Jesus they had known during his earthly ministry had been crucified, had died and risen from the dead on the third day and now was commissioning his disciples to continue his mission.
Each time this gospel is proclaimed to us, Jesus’ mandate to his disciples is renewed. Through the vital processes of catechizing, the Church’s mission to preach the good news continues to impact upon the nations. As Pope Paul VI once explained, “the Church is more than ever alive, yet it seems good to consider that everything still remains to be done; the work begins today and never comes to an end” Paths of the Church, 1964, no.117. I hope that after listening to such a wonderful message, we are all ready to go and be his disciples beginning with where we are.
Today inspired by the apostolic tradition, we are encouraged to acknowledge our faults and weakness in betraying Jesus so that we can have a fresh start in our journey of salvation. We need to acknowledge that we are mere “little ones” 1John 2:1 who need Jesus to have a meaningful life of discipleship and custodians of faith and doctrine willing to consistently witness. In order to maintain an authentic discipleship we have to uphold intimate relationship with Jesus by keeping God’s commandments loving one another because we are a people of the resurrection.