Date: Sunday, April 15, 2018
“He stood in their midst!” But even with the greeting “Peace be with you” the disciples are startled and terrified thinking they are seeing a ghost. He asks “Why are you troubled? Why do questions arise in your hearts?” He invites them to touch him. He is not a ghost! Calmed by his words and what is strangely familiar the disciples, while still incredulous, are yet full of joy and amazement.
Jesus appears to them in his resurrected or spiritual body. He shows them his wounds and asks if they have anything to eat. He restores the bond and renews their friendship. Jesus begins to help them understand what is happening by explaining the words he spoke to them and the deeper meaning of Sacred Scripture that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day. “He opened their minds.” What we discern in this appearance (and in other appearances of Jesus after his resurrection) is foundational and reoccurs in the church. Essential elements are peace, presence, and purpose. The Risen Lord calms fear and instills peace. Jesus is present in the “breaking of the bread” when they/we reflect on the Word of God and share Eucharist. Jesus then commissions his disciples to go to the nations “from Jerusalem” preaching repentance of sins and forgiveness.
Pope Francis has just released an exhortation entitled “Rejoice and Be Glad” that aims to “re-propose” the universal call to holiness. Pope Francis explains what Jesus says with great simplicity what it means to be holy: “living simply, putting God first, trusting Him and not earthly wealth or power, being humble, mourning with and consoling others, being merciful and forgiving, working for justice and seeking peace with all.” Our call to holiness is, at the same time, a witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.