Homily April 13th, 2023

Thursday of the Octave of Easter – Option 1 – Lk 24:35-48

As we make our way through the Easter Octave, the readings recount for us the early acts of the Apostles as well as the various apparitions of our Resurrected Lord. These events can serve us as a beautiful example for applying the joy of Easter to every moment of our lives.

Both the first reading and the Gospel are continuations from yesterday’s readings. In the first reading from Acts, yesterday Peter and John were entering into the Temple through the Beautiful Gate, probably the Eastern Gate made of Corinthian bronze that shone like gold.[1] Upon encountering the crippled man, Peter heals him in Christ’s name, and the man is promptly healed and enters the Temple, full of rejoicing. As some early Christian writers pointed out, the “Beautiful Gate” par excellence is Christ, since He is “the Gate,” as He tells us in John’s Gospel, (Jn 10:9) and is beautiful beyond compare.[2]

Peter’s discourse in today’s reading gives us motives for joy. In spite of our sinfulness, indeed, in spite of the worst sin in human history, namely, the condemnation and brutal execution of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God wants for “our sins [to] be wiped away, [to] grant us times of refreshment, and [to] send us the Messiah already appointed for us.” He wants to “send us the Messiah [the Savior] already appointed for us”: in other words, salvation of the world and the redemption of our souls is accomplished, and the price has been paid; we simply need to turn to God and accept it. As Peter notes, “the faith that comes through [Christ’s name] has given [the lame man] this perfect health,” meaning, not simply physical healing, but rather spiritual healing as well.

In yesterday’s Gospel, we heard how the disciples were met by Christ on the road to Emmaus, and how they recognized Christ in the breaking of the bread. In today’s Gospel, filled with that joy, they hurry back to the others to tell them of this great news, and then Christ Himself enters into the room to encourage them and dispel their fear and terror.

As we celebrate Mass throughout this octave, and indeed every day, let us remind ourselves that the Resurrected Christ becomes present at every consecration, becoming our companion here and now, to help us in our sorrows and our difficulties, and to bring us that limitless joy. As Sacrosanctum concilium reminds us, “in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist . . . the work of our redemption is accomplished” (2). The same Christ in whose name the crippled man was healed, the same Christ who appeared to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, the same Christ who appears in the locked room to all the disciples, becomes present on our altars, and for the same reason: not only to stay with us, as the disciples on the road to Emmaus asked Him, but rather to stay in us, to be our constant companion and help. We can ask ourselves: do we allow Christ to accompany us at every moment, especially in the difficult ones?

Let us ask, through the intercession of Mary, Cause of Our Joy, for the grace “to be glad and rejoice intensely because of the great joy and the glory of Christ our Lord.”

[1] Cf. Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Colorado Springs, CO: Victor, 2001), 412.

[2] Cf. Arator, On the Acts of the Apostles, 1.



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