Our Gospel reading this week is Luke 24:36-48, taken today from the Christian Standard Bible (CSB).
Then he himself stood in their midst. He said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost. “Why are you troubled?” he asked them. “And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself! Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” Having said this, he showed them his hands and feet. But while they still were amazed and in disbelief because of their joy, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” So they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. He told them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you — that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. He also said to them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins will be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.
Jesus came to His disciples that they might see Him risen and know the forgiveness He brings. When they accept that He is really there with them, they are overcome with joy. Jesus has fulfilled the prophecies they have heard all their lives and now He has something for them to do.
“You are witnesses of these things” He tells them. They are called to share what they have seen and heard and learned with everyone, everywhere. It will not be an easy task for them.
Jesus asks them to speak boldly in His name to help others who have not known Him in the flesh accept His love and believe. They will need to give up old traditions and closed thinking. Jesus calls us to do the same, to reach out to a suffering world with His mercy.
Loving Lord, we are often slow to answer the call You place on our lives. Help us to be strong in our faith and bring the Good News of God’s salvation to all the world. Amen.