HOME Homily Archives - Year C Third Sunday of Easter, Year C

Third Sunday of Easter, Year C
Homily. Readings: Acts 5:27-32, 40-41; Psalm 30; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19.


White Stole and Gospel
: Acts 5:27-32, 40-41; Psalm 30; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19

In the Acts of the Apostles Peter fearlessly defies the high priest, affirming that obedience to God comes before obedience to men. In the Book of Revelation the Lamb receives acclaim along with the One on the throne. Finally in the Gospel the risen Christ walks with Peter on the shore and entrusts his sheep three times to his care, but also prophesies the price: martyrdom.

Obedience is acknowledging our dependence on another. Why speak about obedience in a day and age where we consider ourselves free from taboos? Obedience is a reality, not a taboo. God always forgives, man sometimes forgives, and nature never forgives. No one can disobey the law of nature when they walk off a cliff. We depend on God for our earthly and eternal life. We can´t erase being a creature from our nature. He created us free to choose an eternity either with him or separated from him.

The obedience of the Apostles. Peter and the other apostles in the First Reading did not have an issue with obeying. The issue was who they should obey. The high priest putting his authority over God´s. He was ignoring his dependence on God. When St Paul stands in Jerusalem before the Sanhedrin (Acts 22-23) he acknowledges the high priest´s authority even after his conversion (Acts 23:5). In his letter to the Romans, St Paul tells us that just as disobedience is the gateway to sin in Adam, obedience in Christ is the gateway to redemption (Romans 5:19).

Obedience is a fact of life. Citizens obey just laws. Catholics obey canonical laws. A president obeys his country´s constitution. Our conscience calls us to obey God. It´s not just a rational or juridical process. Pascal said that the heart has reasons that the mind does not reach. St Augustine said, "Love and do what you will." Love and the heart are not for licentiousness. They are for focusing totally on the beloved. If I truly love God how can I object to what he wants? If I love my parents, I will obey their rules. A husband and wife are at each other´s service.

Obedience is a fruit of love. Obedience is the best way of showing filial love. Love and disobedience are like oil and water. Christ said "He who loves me will keep my commandments... I will love him and I will reveal myself to him" (John 14:21). We have seen in the beatitudes that the pure of heart are blessed for they shall see God. Obedience is a path to experiencing the Lord. Through the prophet Samuel, God teaches King Saul a harsh lesson about disobedience when Saul does not destroy the livestock of the defeated Amalekites as the Lord commanded him: "Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams" (1Samuel 15:22). Saul goes on the defensive, makes excuses, but his offer to sacrifice the undestroyed plunder is pointless; the disobedience remains.

The Authority of Peter. In today´s Gospel, Peter is the central figure at the risen Christ´s side. "Jesus" is used eight times and "Peter" seven. "Simon Peter" is emphasized, joining his whole personal history (Simon) to the mission Christ entrusts to him personally as the rock on which Christ´s Church will be built (Peter). In today´s Gospel Christ Jesus entrusts his flock and lambs once again to the guidance and responsibility of Peter: "Feed my lambs...Tend to my sheep" (John 21:15-16). Peter is the Rock, the focal point of Christian unity and the supreme authority of the visible Church on earth.

Free Obedience. Submitting ourselves to God and a legitimate hierarchy blessed by God does not compromise our liberty. It ensures liberty by promoting the common good and preserving the bonds (family, civil, religious) of social order. As Catholics we have the grace of a Magisterium that clearly teaches us right from wrong.

Obedience, a filial attitude
. We bring obedience to the practical level and grow spiritually by fostering an attitude of obedience through acts of faith, humility and submission, as a good child would. As Christ promised, "…whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it" (Mark 10:15).