The WORD in Other Words by Fr Dante Barril SVD (Philippines)
Thursday Octave of Easter
Acts of the Apostles 3:11-26
The Pope insists emphatically that we in the church must find the “Joy of the gospel.” Today‘s reading shows us exactly where to find this “Joy.” The gospel opens with the two disciples who saw Jesus on their way back to Emmaus recounting to the eleven and their companions their awesome experience.
From the previous account we learn that these two after their encounter with the risen Jesus were so eager (LK 24,33—34) to return to Jerusalem and share the good news to the others. Their encounter with the risen Jesus made proclaimers out of them who had no training nor expertise but the heart—stirring joy of their encounter with Jesus, the joy of the gospel.
Interestingly, the eleven and their companions who at first were passive witnesses to the joy of the gospel proclaimed by the two would in turn be commissioned by Christ Himself to become active witnesses themselves. In both cases the common denominator is the disciples‘ encounter with the risen Jesus. This encounter can make proclaimers out of virtual unknowns, and transform fear into courage… sadness into joy.
Every one of us longs to experience the joy of the gospel, just like the two, the eleven and their companions. However, it is not enough that we go to church and listen to His Word, celebrate the Sacraments and pray because in order to find and discover or rediscover the joy of the gospel we need to humbly ask the Lord to open the eyes of our hearts to see Him. He who speaks the Word, the Living God who is the life and power of the sacraments and the Father whom we address “Abba!” in our prayers.