On the Gospel of Luke 24:35-48
3rd Sunday of Easter
Amidst the joy of the season of Eastertide, the beginning of today’s Gospel gives us a glimpse of life for Jesus’ followers after the apparent tragedy of Golgotha. For many of those who knew of Christ’s Passion and Death, Good Friday’s aftermath brought pain, sadness and real fear for the future.
Although it is indeed into a room of agitation and doubt that the Risen Christ enters, the physical reality of His presence quenches uncertainty, bringing a new, unparalleled joy that only the profound world-changing Mystery of His Resurrection can bring! The Church teaches us; ‘The resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of the Christian faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the First Christian community; handed as fundamental by Tradition; established by the document of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery along with cross.’ (The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 638)
On that day amongst the assembled disciples, Christ’s torn hands and feet revealed to them the truth of His Divinity and saving mission, the ultimate Good News to be spread to all people; an eternal Salvation and union with God now made possible for all!
Amidst our own moments of fear and uncertainty, we may ask, what does today’s Gospel scene mean specifically for us? Unfortunately, our main difficulty is the very same as his disciples today- not recognising Him! Their agitation and alarm only dissolved on coming to know His real presence was truly there. Crucially, for us, that same, saving presence is real and substantially with each of us today in the life of the Church and Her Sacraments. There, especially in our intimate encounter with Christ in the Eucharist, we are called to make real and alive those words of Pope Pius XII, remembering ‘That one and identical is the Word of God and the Son of Mary, Who suffered on the Cross, Who is present in the Eucharist, and Who rules in Heaven,” Out of a profound love and humility borne for us as our personal Redeemer, Christ calls us to make each Eucharist a time of true celebration and recognition of His presence for our whole heart and soul. In recognising Christ there, opening our lives to His love and Grace, all our life’s difficulties and challenges can and do form part of God’s saving plan for us. He faithfully journeys with us, to strengthen protect and guide us to our eternal joy.
As we prepare for the momentous event of the 50th Eucharistic Congress, let us make this a special time of growth, learning to truly coming to know and value His presence in the Eucharist. Remembering especially this part of the International Congress Prayer today:
May your Holy Spirit inflame our hearts,
enliven our hope and open our minds,
so that together with our sisters and brothers in faith
we may recognise you in the Scriptures
and in the breaking of bread.
May your Holy Spirit transform us into one body
and lead us to walk humbly on the earth,
in justice and love,
as witnesses of your resurrection.
Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.
– Luke 24:35-48