Reflection by Bernadine Mmadubuko (Novice with Dominican Sisters, Cabra in S. Africa)
The joy of the Lord is our Strength
There was an atmosphere of uncertainty concerning the Resurrection of Jesus Christ among the apostles, disciples and throughout Jerusalem. One thing that was of great importance to Jesus after His resurrection was to re-assure His disciples that He was truly risen from the dead, that He was no longer in the tomb and that He was not stolen away as the paid guard were telling people. We remember from the Gospel of last Sunday that He appeared to the apostles twice to prove that He had risen.
In today’s Gospel Luke narrates the story of what happened to the two disciples on their way to Emmaus. When Jesus opened their spiritual minds two things happened: they were filled with unfathomable joy and they set out that evening back to Jerusalem to witness of the Good News, that Christ had Risen. The constant phrases of Jesus after His resurrection were “Peace be with you” and “Go and tell my disciples…..” The two disciples in today’s Gospel demonstrated that they were filled with joy and happiness. This encounter with Jesus encouraged them to fearlessly go back to Jerusalem that night. The saying ‘we cannot give what we do not have’, has something to tell us here. We need to have peace before we can give it to others and we can do this by encountering Christ and promoting peace in our communities. Real joy comes from the peace of Christ. The joy that we receive from Christ must not remain with us, we must share it with our family members, community and perhaps even with our so called ‘enemies’. It is the joy of this Resurrection that will lead us to the second phrase “Go and tell my disciples…….” Jesus first sent Mary Magdalen to go and tell the apostles. He sent the apostles to go and preach the Word throughout the whole world and now Jesus is telling us to go and do the same. This sending is witnessing, missioning and so on. Each one of us is called to witness or mission in various ways. It is up to us to find out how we are to go for this missioning.
St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians (4: 11-12) mentioned a variety of ministries. What is important in this missioning is the assurance that we are sent by God and that He promises to be with us till the end of time. As we set out for our individual missioning, let us take with us the joy of His Resurrection and may the joy of the Lord be our strength, Amen.