"See my hands and my feet! Touch me!"
Third Sunday of Easter (Easter3B), April 22, 2012
By Abbot Philip Lawrence, OSB
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New American Bible
Prayer of the Hours
There are two points in today's readings that might draw our attention. First, in the Gospel of Luke that we have today, we hear the experience of two followers of Jesus, totally disillusioned by his death and burial, really sad and downcast—and yet Jesus Himself came to them. They were on their way to Emmaus, a small village outside of Jerusalem and that name is now known to us because of their experience.
The earlier part of this Gospel tells us that they were debating and discussing. Most likely they were debating and discussing about Jesus, wondering if they had been totally deceived by Him.
Part of our Christian experience at times is about disillusionment and being sad, really wondering if God is present in our lives, wondering if Jesus is our Lord and wondering if God cares about us at all. Sometimes we walk through those times and only very slowly does our faith deepen. At other times we seem to be given other gifts of faith that allow us to believe without such effort. Some people even seem to be given extraordinary gifts of faith by which—without any effort of their own—they are able to remain in the divine presence and rejoice.
In these matters of faith, we can come to trust in God who knows best what truly will help us grow humanly and in divine grace. We can profit by comparing our walk of faith with that of others only if we have complete trust that God chooses us just as we are right now and is there striving to bring about what is absolutely the best for us right in the here and now. Even when we fall and sin, God is right there trying to help us walk in faith once more.
It is as though Jesus Christ is standing right beside us each moment and saying: see my hands and me feet! Touch me! I am truly with you. It is like an echo of that great Easter Homily of Saint John Chrysostom: it does not matter when you come to the Lord, what matters is that you begin to follow Him and He will love just as much as He would have loved you. God\'s love is so much better than our own, so much stronger, so much more powerful. Yet we hesitate to believe that God could love us so much.
The image of how much God loves us is always Jesus crucified. God is not only willing to die for us, God in Jesus Christ has died for us and gone through the pains and sufferings of a most cruel death. All this has been done so that we can live a new life. We often prefer our old life of sin because of the pleasures and the comfort involved in it. But we are challenged to see that it is not truly life but leads to a dead in and death.
Let us rejoice today on this third Sunday of Easter. Let us renew our faith and trust in God. Let us ask God to send His Spirit on us to open our eyes to see the truth of love in Christ Jesus. Alleluia.