Today’s Readings (text):
- Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
- Psalm 4
- 1st John 2:1-5a
- Luke 24:35-48
The story from the gospel today is that of Jesus’ return to the unbelieving disciples after his resurrection. He tells them, “Why are you troubled? Why do questions rise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.”
If he were a ghost, he says, he would not have flesh and bones. He continued to instruct them in the ways of scripture and then they ate. He charged them to preach forgiveness in his name to all the world.
Pope Benedict XVI said in his Easter vigil homily that the “world needs the light of Christ and the light of faith, because darkness always attempts to obscure people’s vision of what is good and evil and what is the purpose of their lives.”
In our first reading today, Peter tells the crowd he understands they have acted in ignorance in the past, but that the new light of the Lord is upon them. It has shown a new light, which the current pope recognizes as necessary.
Darkness obscures vision, he notes. How can we see what we truly want, what we truly seek, if we are living our lives in darkness? This darkness could be confusion, evil, or anything that leads our lives away from what is good in humanity. Although the darkness may be temporary, it may still lead us permanently away from Christ and on a road to destructive decisions.
In these times, we need to find the road back to Christ, back to what is good, back to prayer, to good deeds that give glory to God rather than to man or to our dark, sinful ways.
Only then will our lives have meaning. Only then will we be able to find freedom. Only then will our existence fulfill the mission God has for us.
Look at the hands and feet of people standing right in front of you, people that God put on your path for a reason. They are real. Many of them care about you, but it is sometimes difficult to see that in the presence of other forces in life trying to persuade you to a life of evil, away from Christ and his church on Earth.
The path of Christ may not be as exciting or rock with a forceful bass drum, but it rocks the house pretty good. True power is only in God, so any false notion of power on Earth (money, drugs, sex) cannot last long. Go for what lasts: the steady beat and tuneful melodies, the forgiveness of sins, Christ’s glorious resurrection and his teaching about real love. Have hope in a new world that leaves the old one in the dust.
And go for what lasts in other aspects of your life as well. Don’t settle for what gives immediate pleasure but ends up in a dead end. Get an education in a field you love. Apply it to the best of your ability. Give it your all, every moment of attention, and do it for God’s glory and for the comfort of his children everywhere. To do otherwise is just a lie, and your life is worth so much more than that.