FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD
April 20, 2017
EASTER THURSDAY – JESUS LIVES!
WORD of the DAY
The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way, and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread.
While they were still speaking about this he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you. “But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them. 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 and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24: 35-45)
Today’s Gospel brings us to the end of Easter day. The two disciples of Emmaus have just arrived at the Cenacle and recount to the apostles what had happened to them along the way and how they had recognized Jesus in the ‘breaking of the bread’. Now Jesus appears to the eleven and fills the scene with His presence, alive and real. He greets them, asks them, shows them His hands and feet, and He even eats with them. The disciples remain silent and nothing is said of them, except that they offer Jesus a piece of baked fish. However they are minutely described in their most intimate feelings: awe, fear, discomfort, doubt, and incredulity, and finally, joy. but the feelings that predominate in them are manifested in their difficulty in believing that He is Risen. In fact, it is not easy for anyone to believe in the Resurrection. This is the refrain that is repeated over and over, as we will see later as well during this octave of Easter.
Jesus knows this and tries to offer more convincing evidence in a kind of ascending scale. The empty tomb, the apparitions of the angels to the women, the apparition to Mary of Magdala, the meeting with the disciples of Emmaus, and finally now, the apparition to the eleven together. Here Jesus shows them His hands and His feet; He shows them He is a living person in flesh and bone, He even eats a piece of fish. Jesus is really Risen! He is not a vanishing ghost, a shadow, an unreal and inconsistent apparition, or a projection of their imagination.
Finally, He opens their mind to understand the Scriptures. He had already done this with the Emmaus disciples, because without this intelligence, we are blind and incapable of knowing Him, even if He is walking beside us.
The Voice of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ancient Bishop and Martyr
In fact, I know and I believe that even after the Resurrection, He is in the flesh. And when He came to those who were around Peter, He said to them, “Take, feel, and see that I am not a bodiless spirit” and immediately they touched Him and believed; it was Jesus in flesh and spirit. For this reason, they despised even death, they were found to be superior to death.