Thursday within the Octave of Easter, April 8
Acts 3:11-26 / Luke 24:35-48
Jesus instructs his disciples; You are to be my witnesses.
Jesus underscores three things in this reading.
(1) the reality of the resurrection,
(2) the necessity of the cross, and
(3) the urgency of the task of preaching the Good News to all nations.
First, the reality of the resurrection. Jesus says in effect, ' 'Look at me eat! Touch me! I’m not a phantom or a ghost. I am really Jesus; I have risen!"
Second, the necessity of the cross. Jesus says, "It is written that the Messiah suffer and rise from the dead."
Third, the urgency of preaching the Good News. Jesus says that repentance must be preached in the Messiah's name to all nations.
What are we doing, personally, to help preach repentance to all nations? "Every believer in this world must become a spark of light." (John XXIII in Pacem in Terris)
We gather for our Eucharist because we firmly believe that Christ died for us and he is risen from the dead. We gather around the risen Lord to open our hearts and minds to his word and to let him fill us with his living presence. He tells us, as he told his apostles: “Look, it is really I; listen to me; touch me in the food and drink of the Eucharist.” Thus, in our assemblies, we proclaim the risen Christ and bear witness to him. But this faith must find expression in our everyday Christian living: since Christ is risen, he must rise in us; we must become a new people in whom Christ is alive. We must bear witness to him with the whole of our lives.
The Hebrew word for peace is "shalom". But "shalom" has more than one meaning besides peace. It is also rooted in the word שלם (shaleim), which means completion. So, it also means that without peace, nothing can come to completion. Also "shalom" is also used as a greeting and a salutation. So, when Jesus greeting His disciples "Peace be with you", all the meanings of shalom were also intended. Obviously, the disciples were not at peace and they were mentally and spiritually shattered.
But with His gift of peace, Jesus gathered the minds and hearts of His disciples so that they can see the meaning as well as the completion of all that had happened. Yes, all that had happened, from the Last Supper to the Passion and Death and Resurrection, found meaning and completion in the Risen Christ. At Mass, we exchange the sign of peace with each other as we say "Peace be with you". Following that we partake of Holy Communion and unite ourselves with Christ. It also means that we unite ourselves with Christ in His Passion, Death and Resurrection. May be peace of Christ be always in our hearts in the dying and rising moments of our life so that our life can find completion and bring about peace for others.
Almighty God and Father, Jesus died for us on the cross and you raised him from the dead. We have not seen the marks of the nails in his hands nor touched the wound in his side, but we believe that he is alive and present here among us. Open our hearts to his Word and let us touch him in the bread of the Eucharist, that he may raise us up above our sins and change us into new people. May we thus, bear witness to your risen Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen