Third Sunday of Easter
Luke 24: 35-48
The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread.
While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.
He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
Members remain standing while the Gospel is read. After the Gospel is read, members kiss the Gospel and are seated. After an appropriate period of reflection, members are invited to share their own lights from the Holy Spirit in relation to this Gospel passage. The secretary synthesizes reflections into a brief summary for the team.
(30 minutes) See monthly schedule
The Better Part
Consider privately reflecting on the corresponding chapter from The Better Part by Fr. John Bartunek, LC, ThD during the week.
Unit #337 – “Amazing Peace” – Luke 24:36-48
In describing this appearance to his disciples, St Luke emphasizes the reality of Christ’s resurrected body. They were not seeing a ghost; it was no mass hallucination; it was far too shocking to be wishful thinking – Jesus makes all of this abundantly clear by his gestures and actions. As the reality of his complete, physical, personal presence sinks in, the disciples are overcome with joy and amazement. Their Lord had turned the worst of defeats into a definitive victory; he had conquered injustice, violence, hatred, rejection, and death itself by taking them all upon himself and then dissolving them in the Resurrection. If such an unparalleled event had failed to elicit joy and amazement on behalf of those who love him and put his trust in him, something would have been very wrong.
The level of our spiritual joy and amazement when we contemplate these same realities can in turn give us an inkling of the level of our love and trust. We can cheer with gusto when our favorite team wins the championship; how enthusiastically do our hearts cheer at the resurrection of our Lord, the pledge of our own resurrection?
“He submitted to death and endured it of his own free will, in order to destroy death against death’s will.” St Ephraem
Christ as Teacher
Christ’s glorified body suffers none of the limitations of our natural body, but it still bears the marks of his sacrifice on the cross. He shows his wounds to the disciples to prove to them that it really is he. To this day, as he reigns in heaven, he still bears those wounds; he will bear them throughout all eternity. They are God’s remarkable answer to the perennial question of human suffering: he doesn’t explain the mystery with a syllogism or a philosophical discourse; he explains it by taking it upon himself and bathing it in everlasting glory. If we unite our sufferings to those of Christ, if we attach our crosses to his, than all of our wounds will be found in his, and they all will share in his eternal splendor. The hardship of following Christ – the cross – is only half the story; the joy and glory of following Christ – the resurrection – is the other half. If we accept the one, it’s only because we believe firmly in the other.
Christ as Friend
Jesus: Do you remember what I said most often after my Resurrection? “Peace be with you.” Peace. Peace is my antidote to modern man’s most endemic diseases: stress, depression, and anxiety – and I know you have been affected by those diseases. If you trust in me, I will give you all the peace you need: peace for your mind, because when you look at my wounds that are now sharing my everlasting life, you can know for certain that my unbounded forgiveness lasts forever; peace for your heart, because when you see those nail marks and my pierced side, you know for certain that I love you with an undying, unconditional, personal, determined love – and that too will never change; peace for your soul, because I who am your King reign now and always, and I have given you a task worthy of the restlessness that stirs your will. You are to be my witness, both among those close at hand in your own Jerusalem, and to all peoples everywhere, through your surrender to my will, your prayers, example, and apostolic activity. I want to give you my peace. Trust me, and you will be able to accept it.
Christ in my Life
I am like your disciples, Lord: reluctant to believe. I see the bad side, the hard side, the problems. These come easily to mind. But at times it seems almost impossible for me to smile, to laugh, to rejoice in the victory that I know you have shared with me. Teach me, Lord. Train me. Open my eyes. Fill me with your light. With the joy of your heart, expand my heart”
You are in heaven right now, body and soul. And you are preparing a place for me there. You want me to come and spent eternity in the adventure of your friendship. You will resurrect my body too, and will give me a share in your glory. Help me to taste the joy and amazement that your goodness and power should stir up in my mind. Blessed by your name in all the earth”
Not only do I want to experience your peace, the peace that goes deeper than emotions and passing moods, but I want to be a channel of your peace. Fill me with your abundant fullness of life, Lord; fill me so much that I overflow with it, spreading it to everyone I meet, work and live with. With the Kingdom of your heart, reign in my heart”
Questions for Discussion
What struck you most in this passage? What did you notice that you hadn’t noticed before?
If an agnostic acquaintance were to challenge you by claiming that Christ’s Resurrection was just a hoax, how would you respond?
What can we do to live more fully the steady, deep, consistent peace that comes from a solid and vibrant friendship with Jesus Christ?
We often read spiritual writers telling us to unite our sufferings to Christ’s. What has helped you do that? What difference does doing that make in your life?