On Wednesday of the first week of Easter, we read the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. In today’s Gospel we read what happened on their return to Jerusalem.
The disciples recount the story of someone who walked with them along the way and whose words caused their hearts to burn within them. They only recognised that it was Jesus in the breaking of the bread. But then He had vanished from their sight.
As they continued their story, Jesus appeared among them with words of peace. The disciples again react with fear, alarm and doubt. Even after hearing the witness of the women and the disciples on the road, this mystery is beyond human comprehension! They thought they were seeing a ghost – perhaps Jesus has returned to haunt them for their lack of courage and faith in Him.
Jesus’ intention however is different. They are to be witnesses to His resurrection and love. It was important therefore that they believe. So, He reassures them that He is not a ghost, encouraging them to touch Him, to see and touch the wounds in His hands and feet and He even ate a piece of fish in their presence. He was for real!
They are convinced and their joy is great! Jesus now brings them to deeper understanding. He goes through the Scriptures showing how He fulfilled them by His suffering, death and resurrection from the dead. Jesus then commissions them to witness to His life, death and resurrection and in His name to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
All the readings today help us to cultivate a heart that can witness to the risen Jesus. Firstly, like the first witnesses, we must turn to the scriptures and read them again and again in the light of the Resurrection. In prayer we ask Jesus to ‘open our minds to understand the scriptures…to see how the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead’.
Secondly, we let the Word of God convict us of sin in our lives. In today’s second reading we read: “I am writing this, my children, to stop you sinning.” God’s love comes to perfection, it continues, in anyone who is obedient to the Commandments. We need not be afraid. We have Jesus, our advocate with the Father, and the sacrifice that takes our sins away.
Thirdly, having received God’s mercy, and purified in mind and heart, we, like Peter in today’s first reading, by our words and deeds, are to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins to all nations.
Lord, we thank you for resurrection moments in our lives, a Life in the Spirit Seminar, a Youth 2000 Prayer Festival, a COR or CHOICE or Marriage Encounter weekend, Holy Communion, when you amazed us and left us dumbfounded with signs of your goodness to us.
We thank you God, for coming into our loneliness, our stale marriages, our addictions, our worries about the future, our hurting relationships, our sinful tendencies, and allowing us to experience your peace and forgiveness.
Jesus, let us have open eyes and hearts to see your goodness in the extraordinary and mundane moments of our lives, not just hoping but believing that you are here with us. Forgive us our sins of disobedience and lack of charity.
We pray for the gift of a truly repentant heart. Lift up the light of your face on us, O God. When we call, have mercy and hear us, for you are the sacrifice that takes our sins away.
Touched by your merciful love, may we as Church in Trinidad and Tobago be inspired to use every pulpit/platform that science has gifted us with, to continue the holy preaching. Beginning with us, may the Gospel of repentance spread throughout our land and indeed throughout the whole world.
In Jesus name we pray, Amen! Alleluia!
Which scripture stories help you to believe that the events of Easter really happened? How does your life bear witness to that belief?
The Gospel Meditations for April are by Sr Gail Jagroop OP, a Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa.