April 10, 2024 at 11:37 a.m.

His call to us

WORD OF FAITH: A breakdown of each week's upcoming Sunday readings to better understand the Word of God at Mass.
WORD OF FAITH: A breakdown of each week's upcoming Sunday readings to better understand the Word of God at Mass.

By Father John P. Cush, STD | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” — Luke 24:36

In the Gospel readings that we continue to proclaim this season of Easter, we read again and again of the encounter of the Risen Lord Jesus, present in his glorified body, with those whom he had at least a passing acquaintance with, if not have known very well, in his earthly body. And we see that there is continuity and discontinuity between the glorified body of the Lord Jesus and that of his earthly body. His disciples, his Apostles, those who knew him well, at first do not recognize him; they seem to recognize him through faith, and, indeed they are called to faith but, it seems, always at the initiative of the Risen Lord Jesus.

Indeed, it is the encounter with the Lord Jesus, who through his word we remember, that he is the Word through whom all things were made. We see in his encounter with the Magdalene, and through his actions (for instance, the recounting of how the Sacred Scripture related to him and in the breaking of the bread with the disciples whom he met on the road to Emmaus), that the Lord Jesus is made known.

In last Sunday’s Gospel, the rubber hits the road, if you will. The Lord Jesus encounters those who knew him best, the Apostles. Imagine what it must have been like for the Apostles. Just imagine what it would have been like for them, hiding in that room, in the days after the passion, the death and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. The reports were coming in from Mary Magdalene, the apostle to the Apostles, that the Lord was risen, truly risen. Certainly, the Apostles were, no doubt, overjoyed with this news. But, I bet that, mixed in with that joy, was also a certain amount of fear, a little bit of apprehension. After all, what would Jesus say to them? I mean, each of the Apostles, in their own ways, betrayed Jesus. It wasn’t just Judas, who sold the Lord out and then despaired. It wasn’t just Peter who explicitly denied even knowing the Lord Jesus three times. Every single one of them failed Jesus. In his hour of need, when he asked them to watch and pray with him as he underwent his agony in the garden, they couldn’t even do that; they fell asleep. When the Lord was about to be taken away by the guards, they all scattered, like frightened children. In his passion on the Cross, only Beloved John and the women, his Blessed Mother, and the Magdalene remained. Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Jesus, the just one, Jesus just looks at them, standing there in his glorified body and says to them, four little words: Peace be with you. His prayer, his divine will for us.

And what happens Sunday in our Gospel, taken from the 24th chapter of Luke’s Gospel? The Apostles encounter the risen and glorified Lord Jesus again. When do these princes of the Church recognize the Lord Jesus? It is only when he initiates the contact, only when he speaks to them, only when he does something, in this case asking them if they have anything to eat.

In our spiritual lives, in the covenant that Our Lord has made with us in our baptisms, it is the Lord who has made the first contact. We should never forget this fact. He is the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega, as the preparatory rites for the Paschal candle remind us. 

All things come from him and are only accomplished in him. This life in the Lord is never ours to begin. We can cooperate with his call, but it is his call to us. It is a gift, a totally gratuitous act of overabundant love on the part of the Lord. We must never cease to thank the Lord for this gift.

And, at the same time, we must not only look to recognize the Lord in the little signs he gives us in our daily lives like Peter and the other apostles seemingly are doing in this Gospel. We have seen the signs; we have experienced the glory. We need not look any further for any more signs for we in our spiritual lives need to be living this conclusion. We have met the Risen Lord. We have seen him, touched him, whom we have received into our bodies and souls. May we pray for the grace to also go beyond merely seeing, but actually perceiving his presence in our midst.


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