April 15, 2018 3rd Sunday of Easter
“Why do questions arise in your hearts?” After the Resurrection, the Apostles experienced their fair share of incredulity. Jesus had died—John had been there—and now the tomb was empty. What should they believe? Was the Jesus before them truly real? And who was Jesus really? It’s no surprise that the Apostles were initially “startled and terrified” to the extent that they “thought that they were seeing a ghost.”
Jesus has compassion on his confused friends. Once he affirms his non-ghostly identity—“look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself”—Jesus gets down to business. He has risen from the dead, but life would not continue as normal. Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he spoke in parables and veiled prophetic language. His followers likely thought much of his words were metaphors, some symbolism for the person and their relation to God. Now Jesus has something else in mind. He “opened their minds to understand the scriptures,” making known the connections between his own words and deeds and “everything written about [him] in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms.”
Why now? Why this increased depth of understanding? The answer lies in the shifting role of the Apostles. “You are witnesses of these things.” The treasury of truth is no longer Jesus’ responsibility alone but our own. Then and there, the Apostles are appointed to proclaim the death and resurrection of Jesus, the forgiveness of sins and the mercy of God. This message is no longer for only the Jewish people but “all the nations.”
This is our invitation! We have the rich heritage of the Church’s teaching. By sacramental grace, God’s “peace” is “with [us].” We, too, are sent to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and the hope that belongs to his call.
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