3rd Sunday of Easter Year B – Homily

3rd Sunday of Easter, Year B
Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
Psalm 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9 (7a)
1 John 2:1-5a
Luke 24:35-48
April 14, 2024

Peter spoke to the Jews who had heard that he has healed a crippled beggar.  He said to them, “the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence.

Who had Jesus crucified?  Was Pilate solely responsible?  Or was it the Jewish leaders who are to blame?

Certainly both Pilate and the Jewish leaders had a role in Jesus’ Passion.  But Peter wasn’t speaking to them.  He was speaking to a larger group of Jews when he says, “you handed over and denied…You denied the Holy and Righteous One.” 

All of them contributed to Jesus’ Passion. 

This even applies to us today.

When have we handed Jesus over?  When have we “denied the Holy and Righteous One”?

Whenever we have sinned.

Perhaps you sin out of ignorance.  Then, ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand, to help you to know better.

Maybe you sin because the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”  Ask God for the strength for your spirit to win over the flesh.

Sometimes we don’t know why we sin.  When we do sin, our response should be to follow Peter’s words, “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”  As we read in 1 John, “He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.

It isn’t always easy.  Sometimes we find ourselves in distress.  We hunger for peace but we fear what we don’t understand or when we find ourselves weak.

Following Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection, his disciples were confused by what happened to Jesus.  It didn’t make sense.

Two of them were conversing on the road to Emmaus about what had happened when Jesus appeared to them but they were “prevented from recognizing him” (see Luke 24:13-35).  He broke open the scriptures for them and then He “was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

After Jesus left them, they went and recounted to the other disciples their encounter with Jesus.

It was at that moment that Jesus “stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.””

They should have been filled with joy.  There is Jesus, the one who died for them.  He is the one who fulfills what Scriptures said about the Messiah.

Instead of being filled with joy, they were “startled and terrified.”  Why?  Because they still didn’t understand.  They thought they were seeing a ghost.

Then Jesus said to them, “Why are you troubled?  And why do questions arise in your hearts?”

I ask you, “Why are you troubled?  Why do you have doubts?”

Are you afraid of being punished for your sins?

Do not be afraid, for if you repent of your sins, Jesus has taken the punishment for your sins upon himself.

Do you have doubts? 

What are you doubting? 

Do you doubt that God exists?  Or do you not understand?  What do you not understand?  Perhaps the most likely reason that we wonder if we are doubting God is the “problem of evil.”  If God exists, why does He allow evil?

He does not desire to allow evil.  He chooses to give us free will so that we might love.  We sometimes make bad choices with our free will.

I want to suggest a different way to look at the problem of evil.  If evil exists, and it is not too hard to see it, does the existence of evil not prove that God exists?  How can there be evil without good? 

For the relativists who say there is no truth, how can there be evil if there is no truth?  God, who is truth, defines what is good and evil.

Returning to Jesus’ encounter with his disciples, knowing they are troubled, Jesus offers them peace.  He offers them understanding.  He “opened their minds to understand the scriptures” so that they, so that we can understand his suffering.

He told them to look at his hands and feet to see the marks of his Crucifixion so that they would know that it is He, the same one who had been crucified.

He told them to touch them.  He ate in front of them so they would know that He was not a ghost.  He is risen.  We can rejoice.  We may not understand it all but we can have peace if we trust in Jesus.

When we are in distress, we ask God for help, for strength, for faith.  He will give us peace.  The struggles remain but we are renewed by the peace the Lord gives us.


  1. Carol Archunde on 04/14/2024 at 2:01 pm

    Good afternoon, Fr. Jeff!
    You have made an excellent point in explaining good and evil. One cannot exist without the other. God doesn’t “choose” evil; we do, by God’s giving us free will in choosing.

    Thank you for continuing to teach us, to bring us closer to God.

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