It is difficult for us to comprehend just what the disciples went through that first Easter. They had witnessed their teacher being taken away and brutally executed. For some this was undoubtably too much and some may have drifted away. In fact, at the beginning of the Gospel today, we hear two of the disciples who had left Jerusalem telling their story of how they had encountered Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Were these disciples headed back to their original life and only saved by encountering Jesus, as they recognised him by the breaking of the bread?

We hear in the Gospel that as they were still speaking Jesus stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ We also hear that they were dumbfounded and some thought that they were seeing a ghost. Jesus then goes on to tell them that it is really Him, He has risen.

When I hear the word dumbfounded and try to think about when I ever felt like that, I think of events like 9/11, when the world sat dumbfounded as to what was unfolding before our eyes through the mediums of television and the internet. That was a day when the world stood still and struggled to comprehend the magnitude of what was happening. In short, the world would never be the same again. The resurrection is also like that. Following the resurrection the world can never be the same as it was before that day. Now we have hope because our Saviour has conquered death.

In the first reading we hear how the apostles started their work of sharing the Good News. First of all, they took the Good News to the original Chosen People, those chosen by God to have an integral role in the salvation of mankind. It was through these people that the prophets came; those who foretold the coming of the Christ. It was these same people who were chosen by God to be involved in the Crucifixion of Christ. In this passage from the Acts of the Apostles we hear St Peter tell them that they, nor their leaders, had any idea what they were doing; he says that in fact they were carrying out what had been foretold. He now encouraged them to repent so that their sins could be wiped out.

In the 1st letter of St John, we hear the evangelist pleading with us to stop sinning, but that if we struggle to resist temptation then we need to take those sins to Jesus; the advocate whose sacrifice takes away our sins. This message is supported by the words found in Luke’s Gospel where Jesus is explaining how He had predicted his own death and resurrection and that in His name repentance for sins would be preached to the whole world.

During Lent, like many of you, I went to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I found it an uplifting experience. To repent of our sins is a freeing experience, it takes away the enemy’s ability to accuse us; because we have accused ourselves in front of God and sought the forgiveness of our sins. When I attended the Sacrament there was a very long queue. The Pastoral Area Reconciliation Service in Basingstoke was also very well attended, with four priests hearing confessions late into the evening. The following day; after morning Mass at St Bede’s; Fr John was busy hearing Confessions for over an hour. It seems that people are wakening up to the true value of this wonderful Sacrament again. The number of people attending Mass over Easter seemed to be higher than in recent years. It feels like people are responding to God’s call. We for our part, must ensure that when they respond they feel welcome and help them to feel at home. In our everyday life we need to ensure that those we meet know we are Christian; by our actions.

It was very obvious in this last week that organisations were falling over themselves to wish Muslims a happy Eid or Eid Mubarak. How many of these organisations put out similar messages for Easter? Christianity is the largest faith in the world and yet the media would have us to think that we are irrelevant. But if we look at what Christian organisations do around the world in providing aid, education programmes, building of hospitals, schools and communities. Those of us who put our faith into action are the hands and feet of Christ today. Those same hands and feet which were nailed to the cross now help to feed millions around the world and educate others. Those same hands and feet care for the sick and the dying or help to bring new life into the world. Those same hands and feet bring people to the well which flowed from His pierced side; where blood and water flowed washing away our sins, taking us down into the grave with Him and through our Baptism allowing us to rise with Him, so that we humans can become like God.

Last week, the Vatican issued a document on the dignity of man, called Dignitas Infinita,[1] or Infinite Dignity. The Church has used the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, made by the United Nations in 1948, to “proclaim anew its conviction that all human beings—created by God and redeemed by Christ—must be recognized and treated with respect and love due to their inalienable dignity. The anniversary also provides an occasion for the Church to clarify some frequent misconceptions concerning human dignity and to address some serious and urgent related issues.” If we look around the world now, we can see evil at work. We see the death and destruction in Gaza and in Israel. We can see similar acts of terror in the Ukraine. There are wars in the continent of Africa, which go unreported because the war in Ukraine and in the Holy Land have a greater potential to affect our own nation. In our own country we have people advocating for abortion up until birth and others looking for a change in the law to allow for euthanasia. Abortion and euthanasia, two words which conceal or try to soften the intent, which is to kill.

As Christians we are called to speak up for those without a voice, to feed those without food; to care for those who are shunned by society. Sometimes the problems in the world seem so big that we don’t know where to start or think that what we do can never be enough, but As St Teresa of Calcutta said, “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”

Further Reading

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Third Sunday of Easter

CCC 1346-1347: the Eucharist and the experience of the disciples at Emmaus
CCC 642-644, 857, 995-996: the apostles and disciples as witnesses of the Resurrection
CCC 102, 601, 426-429, 2763: Christ the key to interpreting all Scripture
CCC 519, 662, 1137: Christ, our Advocate in heaven

Declaration “Dignitas Infinita” on Human Dignity (2 April 2024) (

Please keep in your prayers this week

  • Those who are sick, those recovering from surgery, those who are dying, the recently deceased and those who mourn. 
  • All those struggling to feed their families at this time.
  • Those working to help others who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
  • The innocent people caught up in wars and conflicts around the world, but especially those in Palestine, Israel, Ukraine, Russia, Syria and Iraq.
  • Those who have suffered from abuse, those who struggle to see themselves as being of value and those who care for them.

Deacon Tony Darroch   13th April 2024.

[1] Declaration “Dignitas Infinita” on Human Dignity (2 April 2024) (