In Chapter 24 of Luke’s Gospel we have two accounts of appearances of the risen Jesus to his followers: Lk.24:13-35, to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and today’s gospel reading to the disciples in Jerusalem. Both accounts tell how Jesus breaks open the Scriptures to show why he had to suffer and die, and he shares a meal with them – in today’s gospel – proving that he is not a ghost.
While praying and pondering over this passage, some words of Jesus, his questions to his disciples, and his invitation to draw close to him, were both consoling and challenging.
I wondered if on waking each new day, I heard Jesus’ greeting, “Peace be with you,” and believed his promise, “ I am with you always” – what a challenge to walk with him in daily ministry, choosing his plan for me, as he did; faithfully following God’s will through death to Resurrection.
Again, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?” Yes, many situations in life and ministry may cause us to be fearful and to doubt God’s presence in and with us, but if one can be thankful for the gift of faith given us, and trust Him, “when to simply trust him is the hardest thing of all”, his power may work miracles in and through us. Alleluia!
Jesus’ invitation to come close to him and touch him – “Look at my hands and my feet; touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see I have”, challenges me to question my prayer and contemplation. How am I living out my Morning Offering throughout the day – “all that I think, all that I say, all that I do”?
Luke’s Gospel portrays Jesus’ life as an example that we may follow. This example challenges us to “go and do likewise”. How? By being witnesses like his women followers to his teachings, healings, passion, death and resurrection. Caring for those who are ill, imprisoned, marginalized, with compassion and love, and being one who “practises what they preach” just as Jesus did.
These are challenging times, but if God is with us, who is against us!
Therese Lenehan, O.P.