After Easter Sunday we enter into a whole new world of events. The scriptures present to us repeated appearances of the risen Christ to his beloved disciples and conversions of peoples as Peter and other apostles go speaking ‘boldly’ in the name of Jesus and about Him. There are healing stories, miracles and mysterious escapes from the prison! We hear stories from the early Christian community as it grew in faith and understanding amidst challenges. There is power. There is wisdom. There is the presence of the risen Lord!
Today’s gospel begins with the evangelist John telling us that the risen Lord meets the disciples ‘again’ and that it was the third time. It was but natural for the disciples to move on after the death of Jesus. They probably decided to go back to their old ways of living. The risen Lord meets them where they are and calls them ‘again’. He has to do this many times to let them know that they were not dreaming; that they were not hallucinating, and that He needed them to continue what He had begun.
It is amazing how the actions of Jesus speak so clearly to the disciples and their response is so spontaneous and unpretentious. John tells us that ‘none of the disciples dared to ask him, "Who are you?" because they realized it was the Lord.’
The same risen Lord continues to meet us on our journey – where we are. When we feel that all is over, He enters into our life – just like that. Surprise! He meets us in the scriptures, through people we meet along our journey – in our family, our neighborhood, at work, our parish community – but most importantly and profoundly in the breaking of the bread. It is our response to this that will bring about healing, miracles and joy in and around us – just like the early Christian community.
Fr. Bruno D’Souza, CP, is on the staff at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.