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. suddenly the door of a pub flew open. a man staggered out with a woman clinging to him and pleading: «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…» her pleas were cut off as the man struck her. charrington leaped forward to help her.
later, as a policeman led the drunken man away, charrington noticed a lighted sign on the pub: «drink charrington ale.» he was stunned. he later wrote: «here was the source of my wealth, and it was producing untold misery before my eyes. i pledged that not another penny of that money should come to me.»
charrington renounced his 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 his post-resurrection appearance. 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; sometimes deliberately. the LORD calls us to have the courage to repent and to begin anew. then we will experience his peace.
let me start again…