4th Sunday of Easter
May 3, 2020
“A Second Chance”
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the [d]pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. 25 For David says concerning Him:
‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face,
For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;
Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’
29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ’
36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
1 Peter 2:20-25
20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;
23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly
“A Second Chance”
My Brothers and Sisters in the Lord –
We have all made mistakes. In fact, we have all probably made serious mistakes.
And with any mistake, there are always consequences. The consequences might be immediate
– or they might be delayed – but they always follow.
One way to avoid mistakes is to seek sound advice beforehand from experienced and wise people whom we trust. Parents are the ones who, necessarily, help their children avoid mistakes.
However, young people will often go against parental direction and fail anyway. Then, it is important for parents to allow their charges to suffer the consequences of their mistake. Because enduring the pain of the consequences is part of maturing and learning for the future. Moreover, the sooner that anyone learns from their mistakes, the better it is for everyone involved.
It is also important for parents never to reject their children when they fail.
Everyone needs a second chance. Even when we have done something terrible, we need a chance to make things right – and to get on the right track for the future. This is what God ordained to happen through the apostles in the first reading for today.
As Jesus forgave his disciples that first Easter Sunday evening – so did God do for the Chosen People on that first Pentecost Sunday. Somehow, a crowd formed outside the place where the disciples were in hiding – And when the apostles emerged on the balcony, the people who had gathered were struck to the heart by what Peter had to say.
Peter accused them of the terrible thing they had done – or at least, had aided and abetted. They had crucified the very one who had come to save them. But they could change. They could see the truth of their criminality – their horrendous mistake – and repent! They could change their minds, their hearts, their behavior – and embrace Jesus as their savior.
For God had not only raised Jesus from the dead, but He had also made him Lord and Messiah.
Moreover, Jesus had made available the gift of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit would, henceforth, guide and direct them in every aspect of their lives – if they were open to the Spirit’s counsel and direction!
Peter takes everything a step further in the 2nd scripture reading for today.
Certainly, we understand that we must suffer the consequences of our mistakes, sins, and
crimes. But Peter tells us that we must also suffer, patiently, for what others have done –
or done to us – when we are innocent.
This is what Jesus, himself, did with his passion and death. Jesus took upon himself the burden of all our misdeeds. He, the innocent one, suffered – so that grace could be unleashed for those of us who are repentant ourselves. Moreover, as in the case of Jesus, something marvelous and good occurs when we suffer patiently for what others have done. Our pain is joined to that of Jesus for the salvation of the world!
In the Gospel selection, Jesus tells us that he is our shepherd – our guide and our protector. He is also the gate – the very entrance way to all that is good for our souls and spirits.
Jesus also warns us not to be misled by satan, the father of lies. Most of us have probably been taken in at some time by a “Con-Man”, by someone who is a charlatan and takes advantage of us – or uses us for some selfish purpose. It’s always embarrassing to realize that we were “taken-in” or “conned”. But this is also part of learning from our mistakes.
Fortunately we have been given the Holy Spirit as our guide into the unknown.
That Spirit works in different ways – through the Gospel – through others – in our heart
of hearts – and, often, even in our “gut”. We would do well always to be attuned to what
the Spirit is telling us – and where Jesus is leading us through his Spirit.
So, Brothers and Sisters, let us pray for the humility to learn from our mistakes –
May we be an inspiration and a blessing for others – May we guide our young people
with wisdom – And may we be willing to give others another chance after they have failed!
May 3, 2020 Msgr. Russell G. Terra
Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, Redding, CA