III SUNDAY OF EASTER
acts 3:13-15, 17-19; 1 john 2:1-5a; luke 24:35-48
frederick charrington, the owner of the charrington brewery, was walking along a london street with a few friends.
suddenly, just ahead of them, the door of a pub flew open. a man staggered into the street with a woman clinging to him and pleading: «please, dear! the children haven’t eaten in two days! i’ve not eaten in a week! please come home! or… just give me a few coins so i can buy the children some…» her pleas were cut off as the man struck her. charrington and his friends leaped forward to help her.
a little later, as a policeman led the drunken man away, charrington noticed a lighted sign on the pub: «drink charrington ale.» the multi-millionaire brewer was stunned. he later wrote: here was the source of my family wealth, and it was producing untold human misery before my own eyes. then and there i pledged to GOD that not another penny of that money should come to me.»
frederick charrington renounced his family fortune and spent the rest of his life striving to free people from alcoholism.
charrington had the courage to «repent» and begin again. this is thrust of today’s readings!
in the first reading, peter moves quickly from castigating the jews for putting to death «the author of life» to calling them to «repent… and be converted.» he knows that—as the second reading puts it—we have an advocate with the father: JESUS, the righteous one, who is the expiation for our sins.
repentance is the content of the message that JESUS entrusts to the disciples in one of his post-resurrection appearances. after giving them his peace, he commissions them to preach «repentance for the forgiveness of sins.»
as human beings, we sin, we produce misery for others, we put people to «death»… sometimes out of ignorance and sometimes deliberately. the LORD calls us to have the courage to repent and to begin anew. and then we will experience his peace.
let me start again…