Meditation of the week

Understanding the Resurrection

Luke 24, 35-48.

The two disciples who met Jesus on the way to Emmaus, having had their minds opened to understand the Scriptures, as they walked along the road, and having recognised him at the breaking of bread, returned to Jerusalem immediately, that evening, to share their good news with their fellow disciples. As the sharing was taking place Jesus appears among them. He wishes them peace, but the disciples, still edgy and afraid, think him to be a ghost.  Obviously, it took them some time to come to believe in the Resurrection – doubts were rising in their hearts.  Once they were reassured by the seeing and touching of his hands and feet, their fears evaporate instantly, to be replaced by a profound joy. He dispels any lingering doubts they have that he is real, by eating the grilled fish before their eyes, showing that he has a real body, and is not a ghost.

He then explains that all that happened to him was the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies that he would die, rise, and in his name repentance for the forgiveness would be preached to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  They will be witnesses of all that he said and all that has happened.

For Luke, salvation history – God’s saving time consists of three great eras: the time of promise and preparation which the Old Testament scriptures recorded; the time of their fulfilment in the person and ministry of Jesus, and especially in his death and Resurrection; the time of the Church, when in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all nations, starting with the disciples, and continued by the Church, of which we are a part, today.

Jesus’ appearance emphasises very clearly that his death and Resurrection of are not only the fulfilment of the scriptures, (Emmaus message), but also the very means by which God dispenses forgiveness to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Jesus “opened their (disciples) minds to understand the scriptures.”  Many people today yearn to understand them better and profit from them in their spiritual and prayer life. The Holy Spirit would delight in opening our minds, too, to the Scriptures if only we had the faith to ask and the humility to accept his help.

There are dozens of reliable Websites, offering us help to understand, love and pray the Scriptures  better, but I have found the following:  “Sacred Space,”  “Living Space,”  “Pray as you Go”, “The Wednesday Word”, Felix Just S.J,  and Creighton University  Jesuit  Retreat Centre,  particularly good.

This is the only excerpt from Luke’s gospel used in year (B). For him the resurrection is the foundation of the church’s faith and mission, and the source of profound Christian joy. Their joy was so great that they could not believe it. Christian joy is a recurring theme in his Gospel and Acts. It should be second-nature to us Christians to give joyful witness to our resurrection faith. Joyful faith in the risen Christ, in the good news of the gospel, is usually more convincing than intellectual arguments about it, as Pope Francis’ reminds us so refreshingly in his letter “The Joy of the Gospel.”

Father Geoff O’Grady