Gospel Reflection for April 18th – 3rd Sunday of Easter 2021 By Br Michael Moore OMI
Peace be with you
Our gospel today begins after the two friends of Jesus had met him on the road to Emmaus; ‘the disciples told their story of what had happened to them on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of the bread.’
Having met Jesus they went back to Jerusalem bursting with the good news that he was alive. While they are talking, Jesus appears and repeats the words he used twice in last Sunday’s gospel; ‘Peace be with you.’ Despite Jesus already having appeared to them, they were in state of alarm and fright, thinking they were seeing a ghost.’ Jesus speaks very directly to them; ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts?’ To calm these doubts Jesus invites them to touch him to prove that he is not a ghost. He goes further and shows them the wounds in his hands and feet. While their joy was so great, they could not believe it, and they stood (there) dumbfounded. It is obvious from this that Thomas was not the only one who doubted that Jesus had in fact risen from the dead!
We can only imagine the confusion of the disciples. They had spent three years accompanying Jesus as he preached and healed. They had eaten and prayed with him. They were his closest friends. They were with him when he was betrayed. They knew Peter denied knowing him. They saw him being arrested, condemned and crucified. They knew he had died on the cross and had been buried. Now, here he is standing amongst them, talking to them and showing them the wounds he suffered while being crucified. It is any wonder that they are agitated, frightened, dumbfounded and think that that are seeing a ghost! We can almost feel their fear, confusion and doubt. Their reaction is very human and normal.
It is worth noting that while Jesus asks them why they are agitated, he doesn’t condemn, dismiss or criticising them for their response and reaction to his appearance. He not only accepts them as they are, he also reassures and encourages them with his peace and his presence. As we have heard countless times over the last twelve months, because of Covid 19, this has been and sadly continues to be an unprecedented time for all of us. Our ‘normal’ way of life was abruptly halted; we had to wear masks and maintain social distance if and when we went shopping. People lost their jobs, kitchens became class rooms and many are still suffering because of chronic illness and the painful reality of bereavement. This has been a very difficult year for us. Let us not be too hard on ourselves if we too, like the disciples in the gospel, are also agitated and experience doubts in our hearts and daily lives.
As Jesus stood with his disciples in their anxiety and confusion, Jesus too stands with each of us today. He encourages and strengthens us now with the same look of love and words of support as he says, ‘Peace be with you.’ Jesus appeared to his disciples when they needed him the most; he didn’t abandon or desert them. Now more than ever during this season of Easter, we too are asked to believe that the risen Lord is with us; Jesus has not abandoned nor deserted us.
The friends and followers went through a lot and experienced so much pain and confusion when Jesus seemed to have left them – he didn’t. As we continue to live with our own pain, confusion and perhaps agitation let us hear the words that Jesus offers to strengthen and encourage us today; Peace be with you. We are not on our own – the risen Jesus is with us.
– Br Michael Moore OMI
|Gospel of the 3rd Sunday of Easter, April 18th||Luke 24:35-48 ©|
It is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead
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