Jesus appears to his disciples. It is, like much of the Gospel story, a thing of great mystery, of unknowing. And it can be difficult to glean from today’s Gospel what message Jesus has for us.
At the heart of the passage is a crucial point, something we should think about every day. It is this: the signs Jesus gives are to be understood by faith. Our faith, which is itself a gift from God, is our true and sturdy translator of the Gospel, the facilitator for our journey to God the Father. Even when we sense that our faith is struggling, we can remember that the message of the Gospel is translated by our own little faith, own spark of the presence of God.
And so, we see Peter preaching the Good News. Yes, Peter who denied Christ three times yet who, through faith, begins to attract others to God. And this main source of attraction is faith: Peter’s devotion and love for a God who is there, truly present in his life.
Many of us are so ready to condemn those who go against Christ. Nothing could be worse than crucifying God, yet Christ forgave those people. Nothing could seem worse than denying your Lord and King as he was led to trial, yet that is what Peter did, and he is now the proto head of the Church.
All of this, as we develop our love for Christ through faith, is a sounding bell in our own journey, we who can be so discouraged by our lack of faith. We can be those people who crucified him, who denied him. Yet still, he appears to us and brings us forward into his light. Still, he gives us faith to know him and to love him.
And we know that he is on our side, because he intercedes for us at the right hand of God the Father. He is there as our advocate. And he will find any means possible to help us to accept the gift of faith, and to run with it.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke
Glory to you, O Lord
The disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of bread.
They were still talking about this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great that they could not believe it, and they stood dumbfounded; so he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.
Then he told them, ‘This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms, has to be fulfilled.’ He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveess of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.’
The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.