Peace, grace and Easter joy be with you all!
We are reminded that a great part of our witness to Jesus as The Redeemer of the Human Race is to embrace a lifestyle of conversion.
In the first reading, Peter identifies Jesus as God’s glorified servant and Author of Life whom the Jewish leaders put to death. Peter testifies that God raised Jesus from the dead as proof of his true identity and that he understands that those who promoted his death were unaware of who Jesus really was. Peter proposes to them a remedy for their sin: repent and be converted so that their sin may be wiped away!
In the Gospel, Jesus had just revealed himself to two of his disciples in Emmaus the evening before and now reveals himself to a large group of his disciples. At the end of the account, Jesus summarizes the reason for his suffering, death and resurrection was so that repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name everywhere in the world by his disciples.
A key word in both readings is repentance, which is a semi-accurate translation of the original Greek word metanoia. Repent, as Websters Dictionary says, is to feel sorry or self-reproachful for what one has done or failed to do. The conscience of the person is impacted and they feel contrition, sorrow, or regret for their sins as well as penalties undertaken on their account. The Greek term, metanoia, directly signifies the change of mind and of heart that occurs in conversion. The difference in our understanding of what repentance actually means is very important. Repentance is not just something to be done on account of a sin, but is rather a way of life that focuses on becoming an image of God: a true human being. Through our baptism, we are members of the Body of Christ—Jesus is the restorer of the human person! This new life we are given calls us to the constant turn of the heart and mind toward God as an inner state of prayer with a posture of listening with deeply interested love. The focus is not sin. The focus is God’s saving love! May God fill you with peace and joy! +++ Fr. Peter