Third Sunday of Easter (18 April 2021)

The two disciples returning from their planned trip to Emmaus were rushing to tell `the eleven and their companions` about their encounter on the road.  They were bursting with the news but before they could open their mouths they were greeted with ` Yes, it’s true, the Lord is risen.  He appeared to Simon`.  No mention of the women who were the first to witness the Resurrection and tell them the news. Finally the two get to tell `what had happened to them and how Jesus made himself known when he broke the bread with them.`  One can only imagine their delight and wonder as they started their story but they hardly got started when again they were interrupted. This time,  `Jesus himself stood in their midst`. Luke talks about the panic of the disciples, who thought they were seeing a ghost.  It must indeed have been very frightening.  They had seen Jesus dying on the cross (those who hadn`t gone away), and now here was this ghost saying “Peace be with you.”  That sounded familiar though.  Jesus quickly goes on trying to reassure them, “Look at my hands and feet … touch me’.  In their ‘joy they didn’t dare to believe and were still astonished’.  Jesus asks for food. He eats, then recalling what had been written about Him, ‘He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures’. The Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead.  Jesus then confirms their mission to proclaim and witness to the fact that ‘repentance and forgiveness in His name’ are available to all.

Breaking bread and breaking the Word seem to be integral components of the Risen Christ experience as are in the telling of the story.  He comes as a surprise and is not recognised at first.  Jesus is aware of the variety of emotions that the disciples are experiencing: agitation, confusion, fear, joy, disbelief.  Jesus says touch me, see me, feed me, listen to me.  It is in the ordinary places (and conversations) that Jesus appears to His followers: on the road, in the room, at a meal, on the beach.  After the initial shock, the disciples in recognising Jesus recognise Christ, the Risen One and are now enthused to witness to Him in the face of all kinds of opposition even death. 

Today, we are living in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic and we see and meet the Risen Lord in countless peoples and places where we encounter fear, death, grief, compassion, anguish, kindness, solidarity, hope, love…This is our Risen Christ.  Christ is working thorough us, with us and in us, healing, forgiving, and opening our minds and hearts.   `You are witnesses to this` (v.48).

To ponder – how am I being witness?

                                                                                                Sr Bridget O’Driscoll O.P.


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