The Gospel according to Luke (24:35-48)
The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way, and how they had come to recognize him 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.”
Reflection: Do we wonder why the apostles are so bewildered and scared to see the resurrected Jesus? Weren’t they with him every day witnessing the miracles, at his side listening and watching him teach and minister like no one ever had? Didn’t they believe he was the messiah? Jesus even told them that he would suffer and die the way he did. He also said he would rise and see them again. So why did they react with astonishment? Didn’t they believe what God promised, that he would send deliverance from sin and that what Jesus did was the fulfillment of that promise?
This is a question I often ponder when I receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I sit in the pew after sometimes wondering, am I really forgiven. As I move on my mind questions whether the damage I caused by turning away from God resulting in sin created a distance too far that his forgiveness cannot eradicate. Do you sometimes feel that you do not deserve his mercy, love, and forgiveness?
Imagine being in that room where the apostles were, alone, and Jesus walks in. He stands there looking at you and says, “Peace be with you.” You stand frozen not knowing what to say. He approaches you and without saying another word puts his arms around you squeezing tight like he will never let go. The distance he just crossed is his forgiveness!! Every time we come to him with humble and contrite hearts seeking to reconcile he closes the distance created by sin and brings us back from death. He takes us by the hand and says, “Rise my beloved child. Your sins are forgiven. I have restored you to new life. Go and sin no more. Go and tell everyone about me and the forgiveness of sin that has conquered the world.”
Action of the Day: Spend some time in that room with Jesus and allow him to open your mind to the miracle of his ressurection. Jesus broke the chains, gave sight to the blind, set captives free. Allow that gift to set you free. Let your transformation be evident in all you do and say today. Tonight, in a quiet moment, look back and see the goodness of the Lord.