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Monday, April 13, 2009

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Easter Week

Acts 2:14, 22-33
Psalm 16
Matthew 28:8-15

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you, yes, you

"You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem! Listen to what I have to say." —Acts 2:14

On this second day of the fifty-day Easter season, the Lord seems to be calling Jews to repent. In today's Gospel reading, Matthew says many Jews have believed the lie that Jesus did not rise from the dead but that His body was stolen (Mt 28:15). Peter in his Pentecost sermon bluntly blamed the Jews for crucifying and killing Jesus (Acts 2:23). At first, these Scriptures may appear anti-Semitic, but Matthew and Peter were not saying Jews are the only ones to blame for Jesus' death. They were zeroing in on Jews simply because they were talking to Jews.

When we hear the call to repent, we naturally think of the speck in someone else's eye rather than the plank in our own (Mt 7:5). We need someone to challenge us to focus on our own sinfulness. Consequently, if Peter and Matthew were speaking to Americans today, they would not speak primarily to Jews, but they would zero in on Americans. They would tell us to repent or else.

If we don't come out from the tomb of sin, we will not believe Jesus has come out from the tomb of death. That's why Jesus focused on repentance on the first Easter evening when He said to the apostles, "If you forgive men's sins, they are forgiven them; if you hold them bound, they are held bound" (Jn 20:23).

You, yes, you! Repent and believe in the risen Christ.

Prayer:  Father, may my Easter Confession open my eyes to the risen Lord.

Promise:  "Suddenly, without warning, Jesus stood before them and said, 'Peace!' " —Mt 28:9

Praise:  Praise to the risen Jesus Who appeared to His cowardly disciples! "Death has no more power over Him" (Rm 6:9).

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape The Necessity of Confession for Renewal on audio AV 70-1 or video V-70.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 3, 2008

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