Easter Thursday  

Acts 3:11-45;26; Ps 8:2,5-9; Lk 24:35-48 

Saint Peter asked: “Why does this surprise you?”  The Lord Jesus asked: “Why are you disturbed?”  Today’s liturgy asks:  “Do you really expect God to fulfill his promises, today?  Is this the day the Lord has made?  Will you rejoice and be glad today?”


During his preaching after the lame man had been cured at the Temple entrance, Saint Peter asked the crowd why they seemed so surprised.  Why would anyone be surprised to see a lame man walking, jumping and praising?  Saint Peter continues do you stare at us as if we had made this man walk by some power or holiness of our own?  Then he reminds them about the Promised One of old.  When Moses came down from the mountain and his face shown with such brightness, they had to ask him to cover his face so they would not go blind.  At that time the Lord God promised to send another Prophet. This Promised One had come, and he was disowned by his own. Saint Peter explained this announcement: “The Prophet for whom they waited is God’s Servant Jesus, the Holy and Just One, the Author of life, and they put him to death.”  He preaches that the real surprise here is that even though he was crucified, God raised him! Saint Peter explained, “even though you and your leaders acted in ignorance and rejected the Chosen Messiah, God raised him up for you!”  In his name, by his power still active in the Apostles and the Church the Lord God fulfills his promise to Abraham, in your offspring, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.  This Risen Lord, Jesus, is the prophet from among you who today summons you to become the blessing for which the nations long. Indeed, the mission of Jesus continues and will be fulfilled in your witness by turning from your evil ways.
Saint Luke’s first book, his Gospel, has Jesus expressing a similar question shortly after his resurrection.  While the disciples were discussing what had happened on the road to Emmaus, Jesus himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace to you.”  Those gathered went into a panic thinking they were seeing a dead Jesus, fearing they were not encountering a living Jesus.  The Lord Jesus was gentle with their fear; he showed them the wounds of Good Friday and while they were still incredulous for sheer joy and wonder he ate a piece of cooked fish in their presence.  These old wounds, the signs of his past sufferings continue to be a part of our Easter Remembering.  Jesus’ pain is not wasted, Jesus’ suffering is not meaningless, and his passionate self-gift upon the cross was fulfilled–everything that was written about him.  After he reveals that he is not a ghost but a real person, Jesus then teaches them how to read the Torah properly.  With this teaching the eyewitnesses become ministers of the Word.  After they have received his gift of forgiveness and peace, the disciples are commissioned by the Risen Lord to preach to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.


Today, the plan of God is fulfilled in Jesus and continues to be fulfilled in us, the Body of Christ whom we receive at Mass, and whom we are to the ends of the earth.  Indeed, we rejoice and are glad to become those who minister his Word.