Reflection for the Third Sunday of Easter

”Touch me and see.” Jesus, in today’s Gospel Luke 24:36-48.

“Touch me – let me feel that it’s real!” Haddy, successful quarter finalist in ‘MasterChef’.

Today’s Gospel is similar to John’s account of Jesus’ appearance to the disciples hiding away in the upper room but there are some significant differences. Luke’s version follows the story of the road to Emmaus where Jesus is recognised in the breaking of bread but then leaves the two travellers with whom he’s been talking and explaining the scriptures. They return to Jerusalem despite it being late and then find the disciples and their companions gathered together without Luke suggesting that the doors are locked as in John’s Gospel. When Jesus then appears, they are afraid and think it must be a ghost so, although he shows them the wounds in his hands and feet, a piece of broiled fish is given to Jesus to eat, which proves to them he’s real. 

Luke says that the disciples were disbelieving and wondering as well as joyful when he comes to them but Jesus then helps them understand the scriptures about the resurrection although he doesn’t breathe upon them the Holy Spirit, for which the disciples are told they must wait. In John, that happens straight away but in Luke’s account in the Acts of the Apostles, it doesn’t occur until Pentecost. However, after he has spoken and eaten with them on the day of resurrection, Luke writes that Jesus takes his followers to Bethany and is taken up into heaven even as he’s blessing them, having first told them that they are witnesses to what has happened. Through what Luke, John and others have written and done, despite the differences in their accounts, that witness has come down the years to us and we, too, are called to be witnesses of these things to those who don’t know of them. 

With over thirty wars ongoing and so much violence, hatred and division in the world, it’s easy to allow it all to eclipse the good news of the resurrection that is also part of life today. As we face our own doubts and fears, we can also encounter the risen Christ amongst us, bringing peace and offering new understanding of what the scriptures and his resurrection mean for us in our time. At communion we, too, can eat with him and find the Spirit’s enlightenment and power enabling us to explore what it means to live with repentance and the forgiveness of sins. 

Jesus invited his followers to see for themselves the wounds he still embodied from what had been done to him and to touch him – his scars from what he’s experienced remain as do ours, whether physical or psychological. Yet Jesus’ first words are of peace with the invitation to see and touch him and, like those first disciples, perhaps we are disbelieving or wondering about the reality of his presence with us. But the peace he brings means that there are times when we may find ourselves also touched or in touch with others as love finds a new way of being and we, too, are surprised by joy. Like Haddy in MasterChef, there are times when we have to pinch ourselves to believe that what’s happening is real. But for it to be so, we have to allow ourselves to draw near to the risen Christ and to let him draw near to us. That’s not easy sometimes but as those first followers were commissioned as witnesses, so are we – peace be with you! 

With my prayers; pob bendith,

Christine, Guardian.