Easter Sunday Year B
This Easter, let us open our hearts to God. Be healed. Be transformed.
We often said Judas betrayed Jesus. In truth, all the disciples betrayed Jesus. When the authority arrested Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane, “all of them deserted him and fled” (Mk 14:50). Earlier in the evening, Peter said to Jesus, “I will lay down my life for you” (Jn 13:37). But though Peter did not flee like the others, later in the evening, when pressured, three times by the charcoal fire he denied he is with Jesus. (Jn 18:17-18,25-27)
Like the disciples we too are weak. We say we are followers of Jesus, yet we are no different from the disciples. We too betray Jesus often. Face with political correctness or challenged by the secular world, some of us deny Jesus like Peter. Some of us stay silent and stay out of the conversation, figuratively running away. Other times, we give in to temptations, we become selfish, angry, lustful, proud, greedy, envious and lazy. We forgot what Jesus did for us on Good Friday, we forgot the example He showed us. We forgot how Jesus serve others counting the cost; how He love us literally to the point of death. We sin often.
My brothers and sisters, our doom and gloom days are over. It all changed on Easter morning, as the Gospel this week recalled, when Mary Magdalene discovered the empty tomb. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23), but for our sake, Jesus has conquered death. He took on all our sins, brought them to the cross, has nailed them there!
Now it is up to me. It is up to me to want to come back to Him. In spite of my frequent failing, Jesus still loves me. He is patient with me, as He gently guide me back to him – if I let him. Judas did not let Him. Judas was remorseful, “he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders” (Mt 27:3). But he could not find the grace to accept God’s forgiveness. In his hopelessness, he hanged himself (Mt 27:5). This is a great tragedy.
Peter too was remorseful. Having denied Jesus out of human weaknesses, he wept bitterly (Lk 22:62). But unlike Judas, Peter was open to the grace of God. Post-resurrection at the Sea of Tiberias, Peter, feeling disenchanted, went fishing. He caught nothing. Then Jesus appeared at the shore, though Peter could not recognise Him. He asked Peter to “cast the net to the right side of the boat” (Jn 21:6). They caught so many fishes that they could not haul them in. Jesus has gently brought Peter back to the scene of his first calling (Lk 5:1-11). Jesus wanted Peter to remember his calling. Jesus reminded Peter that He has called Peter to be catcher of people (Lk 5:10) and that calling still stands. Later at the shore, Jesus again gently brought Peter back to the charcoal fire (Jn 21:9) where he previously denied Jesus three times. By the same charcoal fire, Jesus would ask Peter to affirm his love three times. (Jn 21:15-17). Peter was restored.
The First Reading of Easter tells the story of how Peter boldly preached to the people, bearing witness to Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection. In terms of the threat level to Jesus’ followers, nothing has changed. Whereas Peter was afraid of even admitting his association to Jesus to a servant girl at the Sanhedrin, in the First Reading, Peter was bolding bearing witness to Jesus in the house of Cornelius the Roman Centurion. What a remarkable transformation!
My brothers and sisters, we are created in the image and likeness of God. Through our baptism, God come to dwell within our souls. But the devil has other plans for us. He wanted to be enslaved to him by our sins. And if we realised that we sin, he wants us to make the mistake of Judas by resisting God’s grace. Do not let the Devil tell us that we are unworthy, for that is a lie. Instead die to our sinful self, open ourselves to Jesus and let Him come into our life once more. This is the message of Easter. Let Him mould and transform us. As the St Paul said to the Colossians in the Second Reading: “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory” (verse 3-4).
May the Good News of Easter be in your life and mine. Shalom.