(Acts 4,13-21; Mk 16,9-15)
Intro: To be honest, I’m feeling nervous for you are all my English teachers. Therefore, I need this one, lectern? Otherwise, I will fall down. Anyway, we thank God because the Priests are not here.
And, I think some of you are still tired after a long journey. So you can sleep, I will say the homily to myself.
Ok, I’m going to look at only one reading, the first. And, I want to focus on one character, St. Peter. Someone was asking me what I was thinking about St. Peter. I told him that he was hopeless… before the Resurrection. Am I right?
Originally, he was a fisherman and the first reading tells us that he is uneducated, unlearned. And then, he’s hot and quick temper. You can see it, can’t you? (he had some quick and nonsense answers and then he wanted to kill somebody in the Olives garden). Especially, he had feared and maidservant and denied his Master three times while his Master was suffering up to death. So I think at that time, he was very shameful, he was feeling guilty and sinful. But there was one wonderful thing happening to him and his life. I think this is the key of his transformation. The wonderful thing is that Jesus, his Master, appears to him. He is one of the first persons to whom Jesus shows himself. Jesus appears to the one denied Him some days before. And He asked nothing about the fault. Incredible!
Reflecting on today’s readings brings me back to the Book of Genesis, chapter 3, the Fall. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they felt their naked state. However, God didn’t run away from them, He came to them. To do what? To bring them good news. What’s the good news? “The offspring of the woman will bruise your head” (3,15). That was the first good news for mankind after the fall. God did not want them to be disappointed and not to have any hope of being saved. God always brings us hope to be saved. Pope Benedict Sixteenth experiences this and writes to us in Spe Salvi (Saved in hope).
Coming to the new Testament, I find that once ‘Jesus was with a naked woman’ (Jn 8,1-11). She was caught in adultery and was brought to him for his judgment. I think she was naked. (I’m wondering how she could catch a trotro (taxi) to get home for her two hands were busy covering her breasts and down part). What did Jesus do to the sinful and naked woman? “I don’t condemn you either, go and sin no more” He said to her. He was there not to accuse but to rescue.
So we can be convinced that the Risen Lord never wants to hurt any sinners. He doesn’t want to make sinners feel shameful. He never makes sinners lose their faces. In contrast, He wants to take away the shame of their sins. Moreover, He would like to bring back to them their self-respect and self-esteem. He’s always ready to bring back to sinners the confidence and justice of the children of God, the Father. In short, He is always there to rescue not to accuse. He says “I do not take pleasure in the death of the wicked but in the conversion of the wicked” (Ezk 33,11).
Therefore, with the Risen Lord, those who were living in the shame of sins now are living in confidence and justice.
So, what are we going to do? What should we put into action through this message?
Firstly, ‘be naked before God’. We have no need to hide anything from Him. Show yourself, your true and naked self to Him. Whoever we are, whatever we do, let Him now, even and especially, our sins. Talking about this reminds me of a story. A holly man came before God and prayed “Lord God, I trust in you, I put in your hands my life, my family, my job, my property, …”. He listed almost everything belonging to him. But God was not saying anything and seemed not so happy. So he asked God “God what else do you want me to offer to you?”. God said “I did not see you offer your sins to me”. Be human be error, we are all sinners. Let each one of us show our sinful state, naked state to God, so that He can help us to recognize ourselves more clearly.
Secondly, allow Him to enter into our innermost souls to take away the shame of sins, the shame of the naked state and bring back to us the confidence and justice of God’s children. Amen.