Gospel Reflections

3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Luke 24:35-48

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Geneviève Simons

Published: April 19, 2015

Easter tells us something about the Father: God does not allow any love to be lost. Easter tells us something about Jesus: the measure of his love is unlimited. Easter tells us something as well about the disciples: something had to happen to change them from timid weasels to strong witnesses.

The passage in Mark 16:8 has probably the most correct presentation of what all disciples have experienced the first Easter days. The women come to the grave and see that Jesus’ body is "not there.” They flee from the tomb; they say nothing to anyone because they are afraid. The resurrection is a complete surprise to the disciples: dead does mean dead, just the same. Later they will proclaim unanimously that Jesus has risen from the dead and is living. How could such a complete change be possible? Many interpretations have been given but none of them stands the test of a calm confrontation with the Biblical texts.

A number of authors claim that the apostles in a kind of trance denied the death of their leader. In their excitement, they wanted to convince everybody that the Lord had come alive again. Maybe they had even hidden Christ’s body. However, a calm reading of the Gospel texts offers NO debate or denial of Jesus’ death. There is only silence and fear. The disciples did not expect a RESURRECTION!

Some writers think that for the disciples it was a matter of denial or even illusion! The disciples did not accept Jesus’ death, but little by little, they did accept the hard reality: “Of course, He has risen from death. Alleluia.” The disciples do not remember Jesus’ prediction or references to the Resurrection.

Some authors see the acceptance of the resurrection in faith by the disciples as a conversion. They had to account for abandoning Jesus because they felt guilty about it. So they began to preach about Jesus still living. However, there is no trace of guilt in the Biblical texts.

There is only one explanation of the total change: the event or happening of “someone.” The disciples had failed Jesus on Holy Thursday, but Jesus did not fail his disciples. In Today’s Gospel, we hear that the eleven remaining disciples had locked themselves in the room of the Last Supper. At once Jesus stood among them: “Peace to you.” They could not believe: “It is a ghost; it is a spirit coming forth from the grave.” It is only when Jesus asks for a piece of fish that they recognize him. He is the same, and yet, completely different. He bears his wounds but as healed scars. They see that that one who has endured all this still lives.

Now the disciples have to prove their faith. Jesus makes them missionaries: “Go and proclaim: God is stronger than death. Do this in memory of me.” In effect, Jesus tells us today that if we want to touch his wounds, we will touch the wounds of people living in poverty. He tells that that Christians need to walk on the roads of Ukraine, Greece or Syria and all the places of suffering in our world. Christians will find the physical presence of Jesus in our neighbours.



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