By Sr. ARABELLA BALINGAO, RGS
Third Sunday of Easter
Psalms 4: 2, 4, 7-8, 9 (7a)
Acts 3: 13-15, 17-19
1 Jn 2:1-5a
Luke 24: 35-48
Reflecting on the readings of this third Sunday of Easter, at least three things moved me: appearance, resurrected Christ with wounds, and the meal.
The appearance of Jesus to his disciples was just in time when the disciples were troubled and asking many questions about what happened and Jesus said, “Peace is with you”.
Applying these words of Jesus in our context, indeed what a gesture of care and compassion for our people who are suffering because of the lost of their loved ones either due to the corona virus or human rights abuses. To people challenged with mental health and psychological concerns, to the poor who go hungry with no aid, students experiencing learning losses and so on. In a way, it is our share in the many difficulties that the original apostles had when Jesus suddenly appeared.
Today, St. Luke gives us the feeling of what it is like on that day after the Resurrection. He says that the two disciples on their way to Emmaus, a stranger came and walked with them and it was Jesus, the Risen Lord, but they didn’t understand. Jesus did not show them victory signs but the nail prints in his hands and the torn side from the sword. By showing His wounds, Jesus desires that He may convince those redeemed in His blood, how mercifully they have been helped. So this Sunday is a day to remember with gratitude how we are treated mercifully.
I remember very well the children and girls in our Shelter who take every opportunity to express their gratitude to the Sisters, the social workers, the houseparents and other staff for being taken care in the Shelter. They create dance or make beautiful cards just to convey their thankfulness. The former girls who are discharged would do the same. They send messages to update us and to say ‘thank you’ that they were not condemned for what happened to them but instead they felt they were treated well and were accepted for who they were.
We also serve other groups of women, farmers and indigenous people in the various Good Shepherd communities in the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao sharing our charism of merciful love. Our Sisters and mission partners join them in their struggles to help regain human dignity, obtain justice, their right to self-determination as well as right to their ancestral lands. I consider myself fortunate for being assigned in two of these communities and had experienced life with them in their ups and downs.
This encounter or solidarity with the people in with their pains and struggles helped me understand more the meaning of my being a religious. That I’m supposed to go out and tell the good news of the Resurrection which is the forgiveness of sins, that all is forgiven; nothing is held back.
As followers of the Risen Christ, we are invited to forgive each other, to make room for the others and not to exclude them. The more we forgive, the more we see Christ.
And so today we celebrate the revelation of God as the man of sorrows who has come to wipe away every tear of his suffering people especially this time of pandemic. And when we give compassion to our brothers and sisters, we know we are worthy to be called followers of Christ.
Balik-Tanaw is a group blog of Promotion of Church People’s Response. The Lectionary Gospel reflection is an invitation for meditation, contemplation, and action. As we nurture our faith by committing ourselves to journey with the people, we also wish to nourish the perspective coming from the point of view of hope and struggle of the people. It is our constant longing that even as crisis intensifies, the faithful will continue to strengthen their commitment to love God and our neighbor by being one with the people in their dreams and aspirations. The Title of the Lectionary Reflection would be Balik –Tanaw , isang PAGNINILAY . It is about looking back (balik) or revisiting the narratives and stories from the Biblical text and seeing ,reading, and reflecting on these with the current context (tanaw).