‘The Lord Has Risen Indeed!’

User’s Guide to the Third Sunday of Easter

20th-century painting of the Risen Christ appearing to the apostles, Valencia, Spain.
20th-century painting of the Risen Christ appearing to the apostles, Valencia, Spain. (photo: Renata Sedmakova / Shutterstock)

Sunday, April 14, is the Third Sunday of Easter. Mass readings: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; Psalm 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9; 1 John 2:1-5a; Luke 24:35-48.

In this Gospel, we see how the Lord confirms his resurrection through the teaching authority of the Church, confirms the apostles in its truth, clarifies their faith, and then commissions them to be witnesses. Let’s see how the Lord does this.

“And [the disciples from Emmaus] were greeted with, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’” In the early hours of the first Easter Sunday, the news had circulated that Jesus had been seen alive. These reports were at first disbelieved by the apostles. But that evening, there is a sudden change, a declaration by the apostles that the Lord has truly risen! What causes this change? According to both Paul (1 Corinthians 15:5) and Luke (24:34), the Risen Lord appeared to Peter privately, prior to the other apostles. Peter reported this to the others, and the Resurrection moves from being doubted to being the official declaration of the Church: “The Lord has truly risen, and he has appeared to Simon!”

“While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost.”

As we all know, the truth can startle and even upset; it can break conventions and challenge what we know and think. The apostles are at first startled. It is one thing for them to believe with the Church and say, “The Lord is truly risen, and he has appeared to Simon!” But it is another for them to personally experience this. It breaks through everything they have ever known. Their belief is no longer abstract; it is no longer merely communal. Now, they are personally in contact with the reality of it.

“Then he said to them, ‘Why are you troubled? … Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. … He ate a piece of fish in front of them.” 

The Lord, in his mercy, often sends us assurances. He helps us to “connect the dots” between what challenges us and what we already know. Through various methods, he shows them his hands and feet and lets them touch him. Though gloriously risen and transformed, he who stands before them now is also the same Jesus who walked with them days before. Jesus is not a mere rabbi or ethical teacher from the ancient world. He is the Lord. He is our brother and yet also Our Lord. 

Jesus says, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

A witness does not merely repeat what others have seen and heard; it is one who testifies to what he himself has seen and heard. The apostles, having contacted personally the certain truth of the Resurrection, must now go forth as witnesses, affirming the dogma with Peter. 

We, too, in conformity with what the Church teaches, must experience the Lord as risen and proclaim him as such. 

Are you a witness? 

Pentecost depicted in stained glass.

Here’s When Easter Officially Ends

Easter lasts for a total of 50 days, from Easter Sunday until the Solemnity of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles, Mary and the first followers of Christ.