Thursday within the Octave of Easter
(Acts 3:11-26; Luke 24:35-48)
During the Easter season the Church does not use the Old Testament in its liturgies other than the Psalms. Its purpose is to emphasize how Jesus’ resurrection makes everything new. But this does not mean that the Old Testament is entirely silent. It is so inextricable to the Christian message that it will be continually found in readings selected from the New Testament. This can be demonstrated in in today’s first reading.
After healing the lame man St. Peter explains the purpose of the miracle to the astonished people. He says that God is using the healing to glorify Jesus in whose name it was performed. Then Peter identifies Jesus as the prophet whom Moses anticipates in the Book of Deuteronomy. Belief of this prophet, he indicates, brings salvation from one’s sins. Not heeding him, Moses continues, will lead to being cut off from God’s people.
The Jews to this day have never converted en masse to Christ. This does that mean, however, that they have forsaken their heritage as God’s chosen people. At Vatican II the bishops taught, citing St. Paul, that God is always faithful to his promise, that God will never withdraw his favor from Israel. We pray that the Jews will be faithful to the Covenant made to Moses. In this way they will help us to understand Jesus better. He came to redeem all humanity, even those who do not acknowledge him as their savior.