Grace to you!
On this third Sunday of Easter, we reflect on the fifth appearance of Jesus to his disciples after his resurrection. The event is described in the Gospel of Luke 24: 35-48. The Gospel of John 20:19-23 reports the same story with a few other details, such as when the Lord gave the apostles the power to forgive sins.
Here is the setting: Cleopas and another person whose name was not given, hurried back from Emmaus after Jesus had appeared to them and had a long conversation with them. They hear the disciples share the news that Jesus appeared to many people, including Simon. They shared their own story too, relating how they recognized Jesus by the breaking of bread (a pointer to the Eucharist). (Lk 24:35).
They were still sharing their joy when the Lord Jesus appeared to all of them. Read how the Gospel of Luke describes the event: “As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to You.” (Lk 24:36).
This visit of the Lord is unique in many ways. It has so many details that are fascinating. How the Lord encouraged the apostles not to doubt what they have seen. How he showed them his hands and feet that were pierced and asked them to touch him.
It narrates also how the Lord proved he was alive and not simply a ghost, and how he asked the disciples for physical food. They gave him a piece of baked fish, which he ate in their sight; how he finally opened their minds to understand the deeper biblical truth that he is alive indeed and that he is the fulfilment of the prophesies in the Old Testament. He is the reparation for our sins and the sins of the world (1 Jn 2:2). In him and through him, many receive divine forgiveness. He also told them they are to bear witness to all they have seen.
The Lord’s visit and his message of peace must have been a source of inspiration. The Lord comes at the right time and he joins in our conversation at the perfect time.
He is in our midst to confirm our faith and our testimony about him. He encourages us and frees us from fear and doubt.
The Lord may not appear in physical form anymore as he did to the first witnesses. He can if he chooses to do so. However, he has chosen to appear to us in everyday life through the normal events of life.
I see Christ every day when I have the privilege of breaking the bread, celebrating the Eucharist. In the Eucharist I see his face and welcome his real presence. He speaks and smiles and cuddles me. Sometimes, I startle for joy, but many times I’m speechless at the warmth of his love.
I hear him through the pages of Scripture. In it he maps out for me the way and grace of fullness of life.
I see him when I go to confession. I hear his words through the mouth of his priest that remind me that my sins are forgiven. “Do not be afraid.” “Go in peace….”
I see him in the people I meet in the workplace, at home, on the streets and at recreational centers. I hear his voice whisper to me what I should do when I see the sick, the poor, the despairing immigrant, the marginalized, those in prison, the suffering and the depressed.
I hear him loud and clear as I enjoy my meal with friends; and then, suddenly, I feel the need to act to provide a good meal for someone who doesn’t have the same privilege I have.
I see Jesus in our midst every day. I hear his voice. I gaze on his face. My neighbor is a signpost of the face of Jesus closest to me.
On this third week of Easter, I pray we see the Risen Lord in our midst, in the everyday life. May we celebrate each moment as a touch of his presence.
Pray: Open my eyes Lord, to see you and listen to you speak to me in the ordinary events of life so that I can be an audacious witness of your love. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Third Sunday of Easter B: Act 3:13-15, 17-19; 1 Jn 2:1-5A; Lk 24:35-48]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.