Then the two went over everything that happened on the road and how they recognized him when he broke the bread.
While they were saying all this, Jesus appeared to them and said, “Peace be with you.” They thought they were seeing a ghost and were scared half to death. He continued with them, “Don’t be upset, and don’t let all these doubting questions take over. Look at my hands; look at my feet—it’s really me. Touch me. Look me over from head to toe. A ghost doesn’t have muscle and bone like this.” As he said this, he showed them his hands and feet. They still couldn’t believe what they were seeing. It was too much; it seemed too good to be true.
He asked, “Do you have any food here?” They gave him a piece of leftover fish they had cooked. He took it and ate it right before their eyes.
Then he said, “Everything I told you while I was with you comes to this: All the things written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms have to be fulfilled.”
He went on to open their understanding of the Word of God, showing them how to read their Bibles this way. He said, “You can see now how it is written that the Messiah suffers, rises from the dead on the third day, and then a total life-change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in his name to all nations—starting from here, from Jerusalem! You’re the first to hear and see it. You’re the witnesses. What comes next is very important: I am sending what my Father promised to you, so stay here in the city until he arrives, until you’re equipped with power from on high.”
Pope Francis has challenged us to witness and live the “joy of the Gospel”. One of the surprising things for me in the stories of the appearances of the Risen Christ to his disciples is how often the reaction to his presence is fear and not joy. Faith did not come easily even for the first disciples. Their eyes had to be opened before they could really experience the joy of Jesus’ presence.
Jesus explains how all that happened to him was in the plan of God. While his disciples were feeling weary and down because they thought that Jesus has not risen, He suddenly stood in their midst and greeted them, "Peace be with you”.
How often is my reaction to challenging or difficult situations one of fear rather than the joy of knowing that Jesus is always by my side? In our moments of challenge, need and even despair – we too are invited to recognise Jesus walking alongside us and offering us the peace and joy of his presence.
Gill McCambridge - Salesian Sister
Prince of Peace, stand among us and bless us with the joy and peace that only you can give.
Let that peace seep into all the turmoil in our own hearts, homes, communities and world, that we be a joyful witness to your Resurrection and Life.