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Our Gospel this Sunday records a resurrection appearance by Jesus. It takes place while the two disciples, who had met Jesus on the road to Emmaus, were telling the other disciples about their encounter. Luke tells us: “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 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.’”
There are a couple things to note in this Gospel. First, Jesus’ opening words to his disciples were “Peace be with you.” Clearly he knew how distraught and confused they were, so he desired to calm their fears. In this regard it is important to note that the word for peace in this context is not simply the absence of strife or conflict. Rather it is a deeply rooted sense of serenity and tranquility. The second thing to note is Jesus’ emphasis on his physical presence ---- that it is really him. This reminds us that while Jesus’ resurrected body is different from his former body, it is also continuous with it. His death was real, as was his resurrection.
Our first reading this Sunday is from the Acts of the Apostles. It is an excerpt from a speech by Peter. In the section we read today, Peter is clear: “The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.”
Our second reading this Sunday is from the first Letter of Saint John. In the section we read today we are reminded. “But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not only for our sins but for those of the whole world. The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- When have you felt the “peace” that Jesus wished for his disciples in today’s Gospel?
- How are you called to give witness to Jesus Christ?
- What does it mean to you that Jesus Christ is you Advocate with the Father?