He is risen! Truly he is risen! This is what it is all about, the resurrection of the Christ that relieved humanity from death. Easter is why we believe in Christ.
If Jesus never descended to the dead and rose again we would have said, “that Jesus was a swell prophet.” That too is true, but the completion of the work comes in the resurrection.
When we think of the work that Christ did on earth while he was here we can see that he healed many people, though he never forced his healing on any person.
The people who were sick needed to ask Jesus for help and to accept that the faith they had, “even the size of a mustard seed,” would carry them along.
So, after Jesus was crucified the order was given from Roman officials that no person was to teach in the name of Jesus.
The apostles were given strict orders and actually, as we hear in the first reading, brought in front of the Sanhedrin to answer for the violation of teaching in Jesus’ name.
The answer is one that we may have to give one day. “We must obey God rather than man.” What does that mean to us? It means that when there is something that Jesus wants done we need to do it.
This Jesus had transformed the lives of the apostles who did not want to be around during the crucifixion nor were they easily coerced in the concept that Jesus rose from the dead, even when he appeared to them, there was confusion as in the case of Thomas, and in Peter, flat out denial.
Then came this Metanoia and the “cowardice” ways were transformed into fortitude.
Then in the Gospel Jesus takes us all the way when he has the apostles throw their nets into the water after a long and unsuccessful night.
There was no way that the apostles were in the mood for another attempt at this fishing journey, yet they did as they were told out of faith and they were astonished to see that the nets were completely full.
Peter recognizes the Lord and is silent but little does he know that he is about to be completely renewed.
As the disciples are finished eating breakfast with Jesus, the Lord asks Peter the redeeming question; “Do you love me?” the thrice asked question is responded to with an affirmative, “Yes you know that I love you,” and then Peter is given instruction to “Feed my sheep.”
The denial that Peter committed at the arrest of Christ is redeemed now and this is only the beginning for Peter.
Jesus comes to the point that he is telling us about today. “Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
But I am still young, you say. It’s not the age that Jesus is giving us insight to at this moment; it is the age of reason. When do you know Christ, and how far does the relationship reach?
Jesus asks you and me the same questions. “Do you love me?” and we respond, like Peter, “You know I love you.”
When we were young someone told us what to believe and which way to go, but as we grow in faith we are led places we may not want to go.
Who leads us? The Spirit of the living God leads us and the death we encounter is the death to the old and juvenile ways of living.
Maturity is important to our lives. We need to not only mature in ways that are physical, we need also to mature spiritually and not be stymied by the ways of youth.
Encountering Christ is a life-changing experience and it can be through meeting someone that has a great influence over you and it can also be achieved in a great mess.
The real test comes when we say, “Yes, Jesus, you know that I love you.” Because it is then that we are called to a greater duty of teaching, even at the cost of being scorned by loved ones and friends.
Gannon University is a place where Jesus has called us at this moment in life to be active in our spiritual growth and the fostering of others by the way we live, and we will respond to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Be not afraid; he is with us and ready to help us through anything. Just ask.