‘The power to change’ was a sermon preached by Ralph Mallinson on 15th April 2018. Easter 3 – Year B. Luke 24: 36b – 48
Peace be with you
Imagine in your mind’s eye, if you will, the scene St. Luke describes today. As ever, he describes it in very lively and realistic way, almost as if he had been there. OLJC’s disciples must have been feeling anything but peace. They are all talking at one another, arguing about all the different and varying stories they had heard that Sunday. They were startled and terrified by his sudden appearance among them. And who can blame them? Then he greeted them: Peace be with you.
St Luke goes out of his way to spell out to his readers, you and me, that this is NOT a ghost they are seeing. Think what happens in your life when something wonderful or unexpected happens. We are inclined to say, I don’t believe it! (Though I all too frequently say that when yet again, for the nth time. my computer goes on the blink, decided it doesn’t like me, and says, Not responding!). When we experience a surprise in our lives we are inclined not to take it in at first. ‘Pinch me’ we might exclaim, to make sure it’s real and not a dream.
So OLJC goes out of his way to convince them that it is no dream, it is really real. Yes, it really is me – the real Jesus, transformed but not changed. You might reflect on how faith in Jesus, how an encounter with the risen Lord – perhaps in prayer, in reading the scriptures, in sharing in the Holy Communion, in a meeting with another person, in a moment of joy, even in a time of sorrow – should have the same sort of effect on us. I am still myself, the same “Me’ that existed before this experience, before my encounter with him. But now I am transformed, changed, a new person.
For St. Luke the resurrection of Jesus was not just the miraculous and wholly unexpected return of a friend and leader whom they thought they had lost forever. But it was the necessary beginning through which God’s will would be fulfilled. How God’s plan for repentance and forgiveness for all the world, would be initiated.
The power to change
Jesus’ resurrection testifies to the promise and hope of a new humanity, a new creation, radiating and resplendent with the glory, power and beauty of God. The basis of our Easter rejoicing and hope and happiness is that through the grace of our baptism we are immersed into Jesus’ death and resurrection and become partakers in his divine life, the life of resurrection
We are, in a word, given the power to change. We can become new people and help fashion a new world. But this won’t happen automatically or magically. It’s up to us, because OLJC has now no hands but our hands, no feet but our feet, and ours are the eyes through which he looks out today with compassion on the world.