Today is Easter Thursday. Today’s Holy Gospel recalls the risen Christ’s encounter with his apostles which caused them to be “startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit,” (Luke 24:35-48).
“Sisters and brothers, Jesus was really present while he walked this earth; he was really present after this Resurrection; and he is really present through the power of the Holy Spirit,” says Bishop Earl Boyea in his daily Easter Week meditation, April 8.
“In the midst of the trials and tribulations of life, let us become ever more aware of him beside and among us. That should bring us the powerful gift of peace to calm our terrified souls.” The full text of Bishop Boyea’s meditation is produced below:
The real presence of Jesus! We often speak of this in the Catholic Church. We talk about his presence in the Church, in the priest, in the people, in the Scriptures, but then we talk about his real presence in the Eucharist. It is the reality of the presence of the Risen Lord which is at the heart of Luke’s account today, Easter Thursday.
After the two Emmaus disciples had finished relating to their colleagues their encounter with Jesus, the Lord suddenly appears among them and says, “Peace” (Luke 24:36). Jesus’ aim is to overcome their fear and skepticism. They don’t believe they are seeing what they are seeing. Jesus wants them to know “it is I myself” (Luke 24:39).
And so, the focus of this account is looking at his hands and feet, touching him, and his eating a piece of baked fish. Jesus is indeed “flesh and bones” just like all of them. But there is something different here. Jesus tells them: “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you…” (Luke 24:44). And then he went on to recall to their memories the predictions he had made of his passion, death, and resurrection. But these were words when he was still with them. He is no longer with them in that same way. His real presence is real but different.
This new presence now means that his mission is to be handed over to them. They are his witnesses. Jesus’ on-going presence will now be by means of the Holy Spirit, the very promise of the Father, who will clothe the apostles with power from on high. Thus, Luke’s Gospel now opens for us the doorway to the Acts of the Apostles.
Sisters and brothers, Jesus was really present while he walked this earth; he was really present after this Resurrection; and he is really present through the power of the Holy Spirit. In the midst of the trials and tribulations of life, let us become ever more aware of him beside and among us. That should bring us the powerful gift of peace to calm our terrified souls.