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Third Sunday of Easter (B)

"See how it is written that the Christ would suffer

and on the third day rise from the dead."

The Word This Week

We continue to think about the Resurrection this week, from three different perspectives: the Gospel gives us another story of Jesus appearing to his disciples - this time the beautiful story of the meeting in Jerusalem, when Jesus proves he is alive and no ghost by eating some grilled fish: he reminds the disciples that all he suffered and rise so the “repentance for the forgiveness of sins” could be preached to the whole world. The first reading shows us Saint Peter’s doing just that, as he addresses the crowd in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost: he takes them through recent events (fifty days earlier), highlighting the important point, that he and the disciples can witness to the raising of Jesus from the dead, and calling them to “repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out.” The second reading brings this into our lives: the resurrection is not just a historical event, which we remember. By baptism (which we renewed at Easter) we become part of Jesus in his dying and his rising, as he ‘becomes the sacrifice that takes our sins away’. So all that Saint John tells us about the commandments and avoiding sin is our way of living the Resurrection.

Notes for Readers

First Reading: Acts 3:13-15.17-19.

The problem with this reading is that it jumps rather abruptly into a story: on Pentecost, Peter goes out of the Upper Room, and addresses the crowd in Jerusalem, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. We drop into this rather suddenly, with “Peter said to the people...” The other problem is that this very clearly does not address the present congregation: your tone, if it is too dramatic, will accuse the congregation, rather than affirming for them Peter’s witness of the events of Easter. In this reading, you have to be very careful about how you use the word “you”, which appears eight times! Read carefully, and not dramatically; a key phrase is at the beginning, when Peter says that God “has glorified his servant Jesus”; also pay special attention to the line about God raising Jesus from the dead. Then it would be good to emphasise the last line, which talks of “sins being wiped out”, since this will link us nicely into the second reading.


Second Reading: 1 John 2:1-5.

In comparison to last week’s selection from this letter, this week’s is reasonably clear and straightforward. There are two parts: the section about sin (to “...the whole world’s”) and the section about the commandments. At the beginning, let the first sentence hang in the air for a moment - it’s a powerful statement, so let it sink in. Then the good news is that even if we do sin, through Jesus we have a hope of redemption. Saint John is very down to earth when talking about keeping the commandments: “anyone who says...and does not...”. Allow this common sense logic to hit the hearts of the listeners. Save some emphasis for the wonderful last line: “God’s love comes to perfection in him.” and allow this to be inspiring and encouraging.


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