What God Wants from Me

April 18, 2021   Third Sunday of Easter (Lectionary: 47)

Reading I   Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
Peter said to the people:
“The God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus,
whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence
when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One
and asked that a murderer be released to you.
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
Now I know, brothers,
that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;
but God has thus brought to fulfillment
what he had announced beforehand
through the mouth of all the prophets,
that his Christ would suffer.
Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”

Responsorial Psalm   4:2, 4, 7-8, 9
R. (7a) Lord, let your face shine on us.
R. Alleluia.
When I call, answer me, O my just God,
you who relieve me when I am in distress;
have pity on me, and hear my prayer!
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
R. Alleluia.
Know that the LORD does wonders for his faithful one;
the LORD will hear me when I call upon him.
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
R. Alleluia.
O LORD, let the light of your countenance shine upon us!
You put gladness into my heart.
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
R. Alleluia.
As soon as I lie down, I fall peacefully asleep,
for you alone, O LORD,
bring security to my dwelling.
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
R. Alleluia.

Reading II   1 Jn 2:1-5a
My children, I am writing this to you
so that you may not commit sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous one.
He is expiation for our sins,
and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.
The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep
his commandments.
Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments
are liars, and the truth is not in them.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.

Alleluia   Cf. Lk 24:32
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us;
make our hearts burn while you speak to us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   Lk 24:35-48
The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way,
and how Jesus was made known to them
in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have.”
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of baked fish;
he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them,
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of Moses
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them,
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.”

By Amy Blythe 

They thought they saw a ghost. Of course, the disciples were startled at the sight of the risen Lord. Christ, in his generosity and great love for them, spends the verses from today’s reading offering himself to them once again, reassuring them of the reality of the Resurrection- pursuing relationship with them, and also with me.

He offers the inspection of his hands and feet, and when they still cannot believe, he eats in front of them to prove his humanity. He gives himself to them again as he opens their minds to understand the scriptures. Finally, he commissions them to preach his name to all nations, pursuing his people through them for the rest of eternity.

Most writers will tell you that a significant part of composing an article involves the author making a real world comparison, illustrating the message with a story of our own. Through people, events, and stories, writers draw parallels that help readers to make meaning.

I have spent an unreasonable amount of time trying to conjure such an illustration:

a detailing of some relationship that might demonstrate the magnitude of the gift Jesus offers to us in today’s Gospel.

Perhaps a mother with a newborn would be effective, as she sacrifices her body along with every other part of herself to bring new life into the world. Maybe the loyalty and devotion shown by my neighbors’ three-legged dog could capture what Jesus offers me here.

But for each example I find, I come up against a critical flaw: earthly relationships are comprised of give and take, where both parties have needs that are met by their counterpart. Even a newborn elicits hormones in the mother that allows her to effectively care for her child. If my neighbor did not receive love and companionship from the dog, there would be little desire to care for it. In many ways, the mother and the dog owner need their beneficiaries as much as the benefactor needs them.

Today’s words from Saint Luke, however, reveal a Savior who does not need me, but desires me.

He physically offers himself again so that the disciples might believe, for their benefit alone.

Jesus needs for nothing, but is so desperate is his longing for me that he ardently pursues me. With patience, he reveals himself to his disciples - and to me - as many times as it takes for me to come to him. He gives himself so completely and endlessly that no relationship can compare.

Awe sinks me to my knees.

It moves me to give myself to him, entering into the relationship he offers me. Comparatively, my offering is meager. And that’s okay. I know a relationship with Jesus will always be unbalanced. Nonetheless, I give him my praise. I offer him repentance. I live as witness to his loving sacrifice. He accepts what I bring with gladness, and offers himself once again.


Amy Blythe is a wife and mom to 4 children, ages 5 and under. She holds her MA in Pastoral Theology from Loyola University-Chicago and has worked in campus and high school ministry. When she isn't wrangling her little ones or writing, you can find her jogging through the countryside or on her back porch with a book. You can find more about Amy here.  


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