Fr. Mike’s homily for Thursday within the Octave of Easter
Theme: The preaching of repentance
By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Homily for Thursday April 8 2021
While they were still speaking about this, he 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 Messiah 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.
The body of Jesus, after His resurrection is very real, for it has bones and flesh. So, it cannot be a ghost. This is what St. Luke in this Gospel account emphasizes by pointing out the detail that Jesus ate a piece of baked fish in front of the disciples. Yet, though real, this same body is now totally different. It is the glorified body that cannot be limited by time and space. That is why Jesus can be present in two or more different places at one time, and He enters the room even though the doors are closed.
Understandably, “they were startled and terrified”. So, He hastily assures them: “Peace be with you.” At this time, they must have already realized that this is a totally different peace from what the world knows. Jesus has told them about this before His Passion: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you” (John 14:27).
“Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.” As He did with the two disciples at Emmaus, Jesus explained to them how all that had happened to Him was fully in harmony with and the fulfilment of the Law, the prophets and psalms. With His resurrection, everything has now become clear in their minds.
The appearances of Jesus after His resurrection were not only for the sake of proving He was truly alive. Rather, they were also meant to make the disciples aware that the time has come for them to do their part in establishing God’s Kingdom: “You are witnesses of these things.” He charged them with the mission to preach repentance in His name, for the forgiveness of sins.
They are to give witness to the fact of the resurrection – that Jesus is alive – for the purpose of making their preaching of repentance truly powerful and credible to all. This is a very important mission because the only way to establish God’s Kingdom on earth is through repentance, conversion and forgiveness of sins. When people go through that process of radical conversion and change of life, they are reconciled with God and with one another. This is what brings about the true peace promised by the Lord, leading to full harmony among peoples, the healing the wounds of division and conflict and the complete reign of justice and love.
Such is the solemn promise of Yahweh: “If then my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Every Sunday, the Day of the Lord, is a little Easter. We come to Mass to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. We profess our faith that Jesus is truly risen. But in the many years of going to Mass, how often have we heeded the call to repentance and conversion? And have we contributed to the building of God’s Kingdom on earth by reminding those around us of the need to repent for the forgiveness of sins?
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches