3d Sunday of Easter.
Gospel Reading : Luke 24:35-48
Vs.35 The disciples told their story of what happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of the bread.
Vs.36 They were still talking about all this when he himself stood among them and said to them: “Peace be with you!”
Vs.37 In a state of alarm and fright they thought they were seeing a ghost.
Vs.38 But he said, “why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts.
Vs.39 Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.”
Vs.40 And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet.
Vs.41 Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, and they stood there dumbfounded; so he said to them, “have you anything there to eat.”
Vs.42 And they offered him a piece of grilled fish,
Vs.43 which he took and ate before their eyes.
Vs.44 Then he told them, “this is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms has to be fulfilled.”
Vs.45 He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures,
Vs.46 and he said to them, “So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,
Vs.47 and that in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Vs.48 You are witnesses to this.
The accounts of the appearances of the risen Jesus in the 4 Gospels are sometimes different and even contradictory. It is important to focus only on the passage before us. This is Luke’s account of the first appearance of the risen Jesus to the assembled apostles. So far He has appeared to the women at the tomb and their account has been met with scepticism. Next he appeared to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. And we are also told (LUKE 24: V34) that he had appeared to “Simon.”
When did this take place? Late in the evening on Easter Sunday when “the two Emmaus disciples” have re-joined the gathering of disciples and corroborated the breaking news that Jesus has risen and they offered their stories of what happened to them on the road…
Where did it happen? In Jerusalem where the disciples, only a few days ago witnessed the passion and crucifixion of their friend and leader Jesus. It is fair to assume that this gathering is in the “upper room” – made available to Jesus and his disciples for the Passover celebration and where he had identified himself with the broken bread and the shared cup.
Who was there? From the previous passage we know that the eleven were assembled with their “companions”, plus the two “Emmaus” disciples.
What happened in that room?
The Risen Jesus suddenly stood among them and gave them his customary greeting “Peace be with you” – Shalom: Hebrew word from stem “shalam” meaning completeness, soundness, good health, well-being. They can be at peace with themselves, with one another and with God.
Alarmed and frightened by his sudden appearance, Jesus was patient and understanding in trying to reassure them that it was really him – the same person that they had journeyed with and grown close to in the past three years and had been cruelly put to death on a cross. As confirmation that it was really him, he showed them his hands and feet – bearing the wounds of his crucifixion. The risen Jesus invited them to touch his risen body for themselves and see that he was the same person. His Risen body was truly physical (real!) but no longer earthly – no longer limited by time, space or mortality.
The disciples could hardly believe it and were so overcome with joy that they were speechless. To leave them in no doubt that he was real, he asked for a bit of fish and ate it before their very eyes.
Drawing on the Scriptures: The law of Moses, the Psalms and the Prophets (The classical division of old testament into three parts) he opened their eyes to recognise that his resurrection (which they have just encountered) was written about long ago and has now been fulfilled. And now that they have witnessed resurrection for themselves, the time has now come for them to go out from Jerusalem and bring His message of the victory of God’s passionate love not merely to the people of Jerusalem or fellow Jews but to all who are open to hear it.
Guidelines for Meditation.
Can we recall a breaking news story that we received as great news, too good to be true, and we were so agitated and confused that we didn’t know what to make of it?
– A miraculous recovery from serious illness.
– The showing up of someone we never expected to see again.
– A dream we thought had perished shows new signs of life.
– A love that we were convinced we had lost is suddenly restored.
– A tree that hasn’t borne fruit for years surprises us.
– A truth that had long been hidden comes out.
Can we recall the journey we made from shock and disbelief to a deep conviction that it was for real? Checking it out by seeing, touching, questioning and verifying it for ourselves.
Can we recall how and when it came back to us that this “resurrection” was in many ways a fulfilment of some truth that someone had shared with us long ago and now we grasp the meaning as if for the first time?
Can we recall how we just new that this wonderful event would have great implications for how we would live the rest of our lives?
Or from the Jesus perspective.
Can we remember undergoing a major change of heart or lifestyle or viewpoint and we knew it was not going to be easy for others to come to terms with?
Can we remember how we journeyed with them patiently and compassionately trying to reassure them that it was the same person as before that had truly changed?
Can we remember showing them our vulnerability “our wounds” even allowing them to touch them for themselves in the hope that it would persuade them that we were for real?
Can we remember our desire to give life and hope to others and to inspire them to go and live and give this message to others.