Luke 24:33, 35–48
That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.
Then 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, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
Today’s gospel is the continuation of the appearance of our risen Lord Jesus to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Having recognized Jesus at the moment when he was breaking up the bread at dinner, the two disciples immediately took the road back to Jerusalem when Jesus disappeared in front of them. They wanted desperately to share the good news to the apostles.
We can imagine the apostles were so impressed by their report. They were equally convinced that they were telling the true because they came back to Jerusalem in such a hurry even in the dark without waiting for the first day light in the morning. The apostles probably asked for more details from Simon about the risen Jesus. With such details they tried to feel how Simon and the other disciple felt when they met the risen Jesus in person. It was at exactly this very moment, Jesus appeared among them.
None of the people in the room noticed how Jesus had entered into the room. The atmosphere in the room changed completely. Instead of feeling joy, the apostles were still startled to see Jesus. They thought that they had seen a spirit. This might be Jesus appeared to them in glory. He looked different from the time when he appeared to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Looking at the apostles, Jesus asked, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?’ Yes, not only the apostles had doubts, we too still have doubts about the Resurrection. That is why St. Paul reminds us, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:17-21).”
The Greeks thought that only the soul survived after death. But Luke emphasizes that the risen Jesus is the same as the man who walked our earth. His wounds are still showing. The real Jesus is indeed back with his friends, and doing all he can to help them to believe. One of such efforts was Jesus asking for something to eat to prove that he was really alive again. Only then can the apostles and disciples be “witnesses of these things.”
As a measure to further strengthen their faith, Jesus went on to remind them of the prophecies of his resurrection which he had given them so often. He emphasized the necessity of his death and resurrection is the core part of God’s salvation plan for mankind.
The faith of the disciples is based on the fact that Jesus is with them again. But he seems to have forgotten their sins! Now they must forget the wrongdoing of others against themselves. The world would be transformed if we all did this. Amen