April 10, Third Sunday of Easter
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41
Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13
2) Revelation 5:11-14
Gospel: John 21:1-19 or John 21:1-14
Most moms have their favorite proverbs that, repeated often enough, become embedded wisdom in their children’s brains. One of my mother’s sayings was, “This too shall pass,” and it still pops up into my head whenever I feel stuck in a rut or am going through a tough time. It reminds me that trials are temporary and that there is always hope.
I imagine that in those days following Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, his disciples must have been grasping for some way to make sense of their situation. Words alone, while comforting, could not suffice. Jesus’ continued presence — which he had promised them at their last supper together — would be the only thing to sustain them.
At first, Jesus made himself known by way of post-resurrection appearances, usually accompanied by a meal. Today’s Gospel narrative describes one of those appearances in superb detail, noting that the disciples didn’t recognize him immediately. Once Jesus’ identity became apparent, however, Peter literally jumped out of the boat to meet him. The ensuing meal and conversation would serve to strengthen him in the days ahead.
When Peter is later confronted by the Sanhedrin for speaking in Jesus’ name, he boldly counters their accusations with the words, “We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.” Therein lies the key: We are never asked to be witnesses (literally, “martyrs” in Greek) by ourselves. Even if it takes us a while to recognize it, the promised Holy Spirit has already been poured out, ensuring that Jesus is always present to us.
This same Holy Spirit gives us the hope to carry on in the midst of trial. As the psalmist writes, the weeping of nightfall will enter in — it’s part of living. But just as surely as dawn follows night, rejoicing will come. Jesus’ abiding presence isn’t simply a platitude. It’s a promise. And the sacred sustenance he provides isn’t simply a meal. It’s himself.
— Sharon K. Perkins
Is there a favorite saying or proverb that you rely on when you are in need of comfort or renewed hope? When has the presence of the Holy Spirit brought you from discouragement to joy?