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Gospel for Sunday, April 18 Luke 24: 35-48

III SUNDAY OF EASTER

35And they (editor’s note: the disciples of Emmaus) narrated what had happened along the way and how they had recognized it in the breaking of the bread. 36While they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them and said: “Peace be with you!”. 37Shocked and full of fear, they thought they were seeing a ghost. 38But he said to them: “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your heart? 39Look at my hands and feet: it’s really me! Touch me and look; a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones, as you can see I have.” 40Saying this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41But since they still did not believe for joy and were filled with amazement, he said: “Do you have anything to eat here?”. 42They offered him a portion of roasted fish; 43he took it and ate it in front of them. 44Then he said: “These are the words that I spoke to you while I was still with you: all things written about me in the law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures 46and said to them: “Thus it is written: Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and in his name conversion and forgiveness of sins will be preached to all peoples, starting from Jerusalem. 48Of this you are witnesses.”

Luke 24: 35-48

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (www.buonabibbiaatutti.it).

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

The Resurrection of Jesus, historical fact

In the story of Jesus’ appearance to the disciples (24.36-49) only Jesus acts and speaks: he greets, asks, rebukes, shows his hands and feet and even eats in front of his disciples. It is not said whether they touched Jesus nor, at least explicitly, whether they believed. However, their internal feelings are described: bewilderment and fear, disturbance and doubt, amazement and disbelief, joy.

In recounting this episode, the evangelist certainly has an apologetic intention (praise in defense of a person or a doctrine). Jesus gradually offers more and more convincing evidence in a sort of progressive itinerary that ends right here: the empty tomb, the appearance of the angels to the women, the meeting with the two disciples of Emmaus, the appearance to Peter and, finally , to all eleven gathered. Here Jesus shows his hands and feet, shows himself as a real person, eats a portion of fish. Jesus is truly risen! His person is real and concrete, not an evanescent ghost.

The need to know the Scriptures

The Risen One “opens their minds to understand the Scriptures” (24.45). Without the understanding of the Scriptures the disciple can find himself next to the Lord without recognizing who He is. It is the third time that the evangelist returns to this discourse (24,7.26.46).

“We must”, “they must” (Lk 24.44): why then are we so lukewarm and fearful in announcing the Gospel? Because perhaps we have not personally encountered the Risen One in meditation on the Scripture, because we dedicate too little time to prayerful contemplation of his Word: we too need Christ to help us understand the Bible, “starting with Moses and all the Prophets” ( Luke 24.27) and “in the Psalms” (Luke 24.44), so that we can say like Paul: “He appeared to me too!” (1 Cor 15.8).

The mission

“You are witnesses of this” (Lk 24.48): this is how today’s Gospel concludes. The experience of the Risen One is not something personal, intimate: it is joy that overflows to others, it is enthusiasm that becomes contagious. The apostles immediately become “witnesses of his resurrection” (Acts 1.22; 4.33). The great announcement of Peter and all the Apostles is precisely that “you killed the author of life, but God raised him, and of this we are witnesses” (first reading: Acts 3,14-15.26; cf. 2 ,22-36; 4,10; 5,30; 10,40-41; 17,18…): with this task they are sent to all the people (Gospel: Luke 24,47), because Christ is Savior “of the whole world” (1 John 2.1-5)!

Today we too are called by Jesus to be witnesses of his Resurrection: we all have this vocation, priests, nuns and lay people. Paul’s warning applies to everyone: “It is a duty for me to preach the gospel: woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor 9,16); we must all announce the Word “on every occasion, whether in season or out of season” (2 Tim 4:2). And if priests and consecrated people do it “institutionally”, it is for my lay brothers that I want to reserve a particular reflection today: in fact the Council tells us: “Every lay person must be a witness to the resurrection and life of the Lord Jesus and a sign of God I live before the world” (LG 38); “Lay people are above all called to make the Church present and active in those places and in those circumstances in which it cannot become the salt of the earth except through them… Therefore, the glorious burden of working so that the may the divine plan of salvation reach every day more and more all men of all times and all over the earth. Therefore, let any way be open to them (editor’s note: !!!) so that… they too can actively participate in the salvific work of the Church” (LG 33); “Christ… fulfills his prophetic office… also through lay people, who therefore constitute his witnesses and provide the sense of faith and the grace of the word (see Acts 2:17-18; Rev 19:10). .. In this office, that state of life which is sanctified by a special sacrament, that is, married and family life, appears of great value. There one has the exercise and an excellent school of lay apostolate… The Christian family loudly proclaims the present virtues of the Kingdom of God and the hope of the blessed life… The lay people therefore, even when they are busy temporal care, can and must exercise a precious action for the evangelization of the world….; everyone must cooperate in the expansion and increase of the Kingdom of Christ in the world” (LG 35).

Let us open ourselves with generosity to the Holy Spirit, who “guides us to the whole truth” (Jn 16.13), who gives us “the power to express ourselves” (Acts 2.4; 4.8), who “bears witness to us” because “we too bear witness” (Jn 15,26-27), so that we become “witnesses ourselves and the Holy Spirit” (Acts 5,32), in a unity that gives us strength, courage, happiness…

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at migliettacarlo@gmail.com.

Source

Spazio Spadoni

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