Easter Sunday (B) Homilies

Our Sunday Visitor

After Jesus was raised from the dead, we ate and drank with Him

Reading I: Acts 10:34, 37-43

  • In the first reading, Peter’s speech is a typical recital of the essential preaching about Christ.
  • Peter and all the disciples are commissioned to bear witness to the good news.
  • Those who received their commission from the Risen Lord were eyewitnesses of his glory.
SOURCE: Content adapted from Our Sunday Visitor

Scripture in Context

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by Stephen M. Miller

Commentary by Fr. Clement D. Thibodeau

We know him because we have experienced him

Peter brings the good news of salvation in Christ Jesus to the household of the Gentile centurion. Even before Paul was sent to the Gentiles, Peter had already made the breakthrough whereby the good news was not for Jews only; the Gospel is also addressed to the Gentile world. The sermon of Peter is taken from the preaching of the early Christian community. It is a summary of Christian beliefs addressed to those about to be baptized. The message is even now formulated in an organized and programmatic manner. 1. God’s salvation comes through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 2. All are called to repent and accept that gift. 3. The witnesses are “those who ate and drank with him.” Whenever we celebrate the Eucharist even today, we, too, become those witnesses, since we do in fact “eat and drink with him.”

©2020 Father Clement D. Thibodeau. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
Commentary by Fr. Eamon Tobin

This is an excerpt from the last of several sermons of Peter found in Acts. What makes this sermon unique is that it comes right after the vision Peter has during which God reveals that Jesus has come to offer salvation not only to the Jews, but also to the Gentiles – to all people. In this sermon, we hear about the scope and spread of the Gospel. The story of Jesus’ baptism, his public ministry, death and Resurrection have been reported all over the land. The power of Jesus’ ministry flows from him being anointed by God with the Holy Spirit. Peter lists himself as a witness to all these wondrous events. Peter concludes by stating that all-through faith and repentance- now have access to the salvation that Jesus has come to bring.

©2021 Fr. Eamon Tobin. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
Commentary by Sr. Mary M. McGlone

The readings of the Easter season are designed to be a catechesis for the newly baptized — and a refresher for those baptized long ago. Another feature of the season is that the first reading on Sundays is from the Acts of the Apostles rather than from the Hebrew Scriptures, thus offering a short course in the first growth of our faith tradition.

Luke opens the segment of Peter’s last homily that we hear today in a solemn way. By making the formal announcement that “Peter proceeded to speak and said…” Peter’s homily summarizes the story of Jesus from the viewpoints of God, Jesus and the disciples. Peter tells us that this all happened in a real moment of history (after John the Baptist) and that it was all God’s initiative (God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power). He tells us what Jesus did (went about healing and doing good), who saw it (we are witnesses) and what happened (they put him to death). He concludes by proclaiming what God did (raised him on the third day and granted that he be visible) and what it means to us (he commissioned us to preach). At the end, Peter reaches back into history to say that everything about Jesus was foretold by the prophets, and finally, he tells us what it means for all of humanity.
The principal actor in this entire proclamation is God. God anointed Jesus and raised him. But even more importantly for us, God appointed him as judge of the living and the dead so that he could offer forgiveness to all who believe in him.

If we have never paid much attention to Peter’s description of Jesus as judge it may surprise us. Peter says nothing about separating good from evil or rewards and punishments. The role of this judge is to dispense forgiveness to all who believe in him — in other words, to all who seek it and believe it is possible.

This announcement summarizes the mission God gave Jesus and also tells us a lot about Peter as the representative of all evangelizers. First of all, it reiterates in the simplest form possible that God’s outreach to humanity is designed specifically to bring all people into the realm of divine love. Sin is of no interest to God. The entire purpose of Jesus’ mission was to bring people home to God.

Secondly, the fact that Peter could preach this homily means that he, too, had been converted. He’s no longer among those seeking a place of honor; he’s not going to pull out a sword against anyone. He’s simply a witness, someone whose entire life has become dedicated to giving testimony to what God has revealed in Jesus. When we stop to consider it, this last homily we will hear from Peter shows him to be among the freest and happiest of all people. He has nothing to prove. All he wants to do is extend the offer God has made in Jesus, and he has chosen to use the rest of his life to disseminate that offer as far and wide as possible.

©2018 National Catholic Reporter. All Rights Reserved. Sr. Mary McGlone  is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet. 2018 Reflections,  2020 Reflections can be read at National Catholic Reporter website.
Feasting on the Word

Two categories of people

Acts 10:34–43 identifies two categories of people. There are witnesses, those to whom Jesus appeared after the resurrection and who have been called by God to testify about those events. Many of them, like Peter, have been involved from the outset and have come to the Christian movement by way of the Jewish faith. They believe that in Jesus they have found the Messiah, the one for whom as Jews they have waited. But now there appears another category of folks, drawn from “every nation” (Acts 10:35), who have no previous experience with Jesus and have little if any understanding of the Jewish faith or what makes Jesus significant within it. Their qualification is that God finds them acceptable. Here in Acts 10 the witnesses and the nations converge, and the surprise, says Peter, is that God shows no partiality among them (Acts 10:34).

From a park near Cairo, Illinois, one may watch as the Ohio River joins the Mississippi, their two massive currents meeting, mingling, roiling, and moving on. Each colliding stream is mighty and powerful in its own right. But from Cairo on, there is but one river. In the same way, from Acts 10 on, there will be as much roiling as mingling, but the members of the church, called together through Jesus Christ, will constitute one body at work in the world.
What Peter discovers is that witnesses are called to share the gospel account with others, to testify to the good news of Jesus Christ, but they are not called to be the community of faith. This new community is to be whatever God calls it to be and to include whomsoever God chooses for it to include. The witnesses serve an important function, of course, a role for which they have been chosen. But they do not exhaust God’s calling activity. God is fashioning the church from many currents.
What better day than Easter for such a message? The folks who come week after week, and who may consider themselves to represent the witnesses of the community, now find themselves displaced from their pews by people they do not readily recognize, people who may not be back again until next Easter. Who let them in? Who gave them my parking spot? My seat? The answer, according to the writer of Acts, is that God did.

SOURCE: Content taken from FEASTING ON THE WORD, YEAR B (12 Volume Set); David L. Bartlett (Editor); Copyright © 2011. Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved.
Holman Commentary

Peter's speech to the Gentiles

Acts 10:37-38. These verses likely contain a mere summary of Peter's total address. They still contain more detail than most other New Testament sermons, revealing the necessity Peter felt to explain the Jesus story more completely to Gentiles who would be familiar with the facts but not the meaning. His listeners would doubtless have known about good and evil in the world; no one living in the Roman Empire could doubt the latter, and no one worshiping the true God could doubt the former. Peter reminded them that Jesus Christ challenged the evil kingdom and delivered those who were under the power of the devil.

SOURCE: Content taken from Holman New Testament Commentary Series (12 Volume Set); Holman Reference Editorial Staff (Author); Copyright © 2001. Holman Reference. All rights reserved.

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SOURCE: Richard Niell Donavan, a Disciples of Christ clergyman, published SermonWriter from 1997 until his death in 2020. His wife Dale has graciously kept his website online. A subscription is no longer required.


Easter Sunday (B) Homilies

CATHOLIC Bible Study

Salvation is in Christ Jesus

by Michal Hunt (Agape Bible Study)

In the First Reading, St. Peter begins to move forward God’s divine plan to fulfill the mission Jesus gave the Apostles to carry Jesus’ Gospel of salvation beyond Jerusalem and out into the world (Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15; Acts 1:8).  In his homily to a group of Gentile Romans, Peter proclaims the living Christ and preaches the basic Gospel message of the New Covenant Church.  He tells them that God the Son died to liberate humanity from bondage to sin and death, and everyone who believes in Jesus and submits to baptism in His name will receive forgiveness of their sins and the hope of eternal life with Jesus Christ in Heaven.

St. Peter’s homily to Cornelius and his household

In the first reading, we hear St. Peter’s homily to the household of the Roman Centurion Cornelius, a God-fearing Gentile who was ready to embrace Jesus as his Lord and Savior.  The encounter takes place after Jesus’ resurrection as the Apostles begin to fulfill the mission Jesus gave them to carry the news of the Gospel beyond Jerusalem and out into the world (Mt 28:19-20Acts 1:8).  In his homily, Peter proclaims the living Christ and preaches the kerygma, the basic Gospel message of the Church:

  • Jesus was rejected and put to death.
  • God vindicated Christ by raising Him from the dead.
  • The Apostles were commissioned by the glorified Jesus to witness to the Christ-event.
  • Everyone who believes in Jesus will receive forgiveness of their sins through Him.

God’s Divine plan

Peter begins by announcing that the revelation of Israel as God’s chosen people did not mean that He withheld His divine favor from the Gentiles.  Peter tells his Gentile converts that God’s divine plan for the salvation of humanity through Israel culminated in Jesus of Nazareth, who is the Son of God.

“Hung on a tree”

Jesus was put to death by crucifixion, Peter says, using the significant phrase “by hanging him on a tree” (verse 39).  Being “hung on a tree” was the sign of someone who was cursed by God under the Law of Moses (Dt 21:22).  Peter uses the phrase to convey that Jesus, who was without sin, took upon Himself the penalty of the sins of the Old Covenant people and all humanity for the sake of their salvation as an unblemished sin sacrifice (also see references to Dt 21:22 and Jesus’ death in Jn 19:31, Acts 5:30, 13:29, and Gal 3:13).  As St. Paul explained in Galatians 3:13

Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, “Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree,” that the blessing of Abraham might be extended to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

The message of the disciples and the Church

Then in Acts 10:39-41, Peter testifies to having been a witness Jesus’ resurrection from the dead on the third day (as the ancients counted without the concept of a zero place-value).  He assures the Gentiles that Christ commissioned His disciples to preach the Gospel of salvation by testifying that Jesus is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead and that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name (Acts 10:42-43).

It is the same message the Church preaches today as she continues to fulfill the mission Jesus gave her to baptize and to spread the Gospel message of salvation to the ends of the earth (Mt 20:19-20Mk 16:15-16Acts 2:38).

SOURCE: content taken from Michal E. Hunt at Agape Bible Study; used with permission. titles added.


Easter Sunday (B) Homilies

Lisa St. Romaine
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Isaiah’s prophecy can be proclaimed more fully if, as you practice reading aloud, you think about the times you experienced the same emotions! Lisa has suggestions.

Lisa St. Romaine offers lector tips. She is married to Philip St. Romain, M.S., D. Min. Her videos are posted on her YouTube channel every Wednesday for Sunday.

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First Page: NRSV Bible (used in Canada) with commentary
Second Page: NAB Bible (United States) with proclamation tips

IMPORTANT: Both the Canadian and U.S. lectionaries have been revised since 1997. While most of the Lectionary text has not been altered, there have been some changes.

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Paul Schlachter

Risen Christ is the center of our faith

Points to consider

I have an example of early Christian preaching.  It is all about Jesus, anointed with the holy Spirit and power, whom God appointed judge of the living and the dead.  Because it is the story of our Savior it is our story, too.

What impressed the apostles so much about Jesus was his doing good and healing.  Peter does not mention his teachings but his example of action.

I notice that Peter mentions almost in passing the shattering death of Jesus, only the barest of facts.  Peter spends much more time on his life on earth, and his presence among the apostles as the risen Lord.

Peter does not make a sales pitch, with the aim of securing a larger market share for Christianity.  The benefit is for everyone, living and dead, and so the message is for everyone.

Key elements

Central point: the man Jesus of Nazareth, who lived among us and was anointed, raised and appointed by our God as the center of our life of faith.

Message for our assembly: We hear the witness of Peter two thousand years later, and as we receive it we hand it on through our own lives of faith.

I will challenge myself: to speak the words of Peter as the good news that it is, with the same confidence as I do our creed, because this is why we form the church of believers.

SOURCE: LectorWorks.org; Used with permission
Greg Warnusz

Peter’s summary of the Gospel


Ask the presider to tell your listeners (or tell them yourself):

This is the apostle Peter’s first speech before an audience of Gentiles. Peter has only recently become convinced that the Gentiles are even part of God’s plan. He summarizes the whole gospel for them.

Historical Situation

This is Peter’s first speech to a Gentile audience, new territory for him. Your proclamation of it will be better if you walk a mile in his sandals first by reading all of Acts, Chapter 10. You’ll see what a big change Peter had to go through before he could speak to this group.

Remember that Saint Luke wrote Acts for Gentile converts to Christ. They knew little of the background of the religion that Jesus and his first followers practiced, except, perhaps, that Jews were famously insular and considered themselves God’s (only) chosen people. The early Gentile converts needed to know how it came about that Jewish Christians were now welcoming them. And they needed to know why that welcome was so difficult for some to give. Acts, chapter 10, read in its entirety, explains how Peter made the jump, and how hard it was for him. This was quite revolutionary, and very controversial in the early church. See most of Acts, Paul’s letters to the Galatians and to the Romans, and the Pauline-school letter to the Ephesians.

Proclaiming the Passage

Peter’s speech is a systematic summary of the gospel:

  • God sent Jesus.
  • He did and said good things.
  • He was killed, then raised to life.
  • We and many other witnesses saw him after his resurrection.
  • He commissioned us to tell everyone about him.
  • He has fulfilled the ancient hopes of Judaism.
  • Grace, life and the forgiveness of sins are yours in him.

End of story.

SOURCE: LectorPrep.org


Easter Sunday (B) Homilies

Catholic Productions
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Jesus and Isaac: Two Beloved Sons

Jesus is depicted as the fulfillment of many Old Testament types, such as Adam, Moses, David, Elijah, Elisha, Joseph, and so on. In this week’s video see some of the types Jesus is fulfilling in the readings for the 2nd Sunday of Lent, in particular Jesus being a New Isaac.Check out this video with Dr. Brant Pitre to learn more.

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Why was it important that Peter preached to Cornelius at Caesarea?

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