Thursday in the Octave of Easter
The gospel readings this week show the mixed emotions that the disciples experienced on Easter Sunday: fear, confusion, doubt, hope and joy. Two disciples hurried back from Emmaus to tell the apostles that they had seen the Lord. Earlier in the day Mary Magdalene and some women saw Jesus at the tomb. Now Jesus suddenly appears to the Blessed Mother and the apostles in the Upper Room. The text says “they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed.” Jesus invites them to touch and see him to know that he is not a ghost. Jesus is alive!
The first word that Jesus says to them is peace, shalom. This Hebrew word is rich in meaning. It conveys much more than tranquility or absence of war. Shalom means abundance, wholeness, safety from one’s enemies, fruitful lands and flocks, prosperity, good health and happiness. Jesus is bestowing the fullness of God’s grace upon his disciples. Then Jesus opens their minds to understand the Scriptures in the same way he did for the two on the road to Emmaus. No doubt their hearts were burning within them as happened to the two disciples at Emmaus.
In some parts of the world it is illegal to own a Bible or to read it. Prejudice and ungodliness have shut the door on people learning the truth about God. Whereas most of us have access to reading the Word of God and letting it shape our lives. We have come to believe that the Bible is God’s love letters to his people. When the Scriptures are proclaimed at Mass, it is like listening to the voice of God giving hope, consolation, guidance, and forgiveness. The Liturgy of the Word prepares us to receive the Word made flesh in Holy Communion. When we greet each other with the sign of peace we deepen the bonds of friendship in the Body of Christ. Then together we recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread.
- Father Michael Salvagna C.P.