Wednesday of the First Week of Easter
(Acts 3:1-10; Lucas 24:13-35)
As the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr, falls the day after Christmas, today marks not just the fourth day of Easter but also the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. King should be seen as a contemporary martyr who daily risked his life until he was murdered. The motive of the crime was racial bigotry which King prophesied against with heart, mind, and soul.
Today’s gospel shows Jesus’ disciples unable to recognize him as he explained to them the Hebrew Scriptures. Fifty years ago many Americans had a similar blindness to King’s biblical denunciation of racism. They had to be awakened to the evil by the murders of innocent children, civil rights workers, and finally the prophet King himself.
We honor Martin Luther King today by examining our attitudes and actions to people of other social backgrounds. Like Peter and John going out to the crippled man in today’s first reading we have to look in the eyes of men and women of other races, religions, sexual tendencies, and economic statuses and demonstrate our care for them. Money was not the principal concern of the apostles nor is it ours today. More than anything else, a greater commitment to social solidarity is needed among the different peoples who make up our society.