by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
Obviously, once more as we listen to these Scripture lessons this morning, we become aware and perhaps begin to feel again somewhat of the excitement and the joy that those first disciples felt when Jesus went through death to new life. They found it very difficult to believe this, and I think sometimes we fail to experience the fullness of joy of this Easter feast because we almost take it too much for granted. “Yes, Jesus rose from the dead; let’s move on.” No. It’s so much more important to stop and really try to experience what those first disciples experienced.
It wasn’t just that Jesus was resuscitated and came back to live again the life he had been living before. No, it’s a whole new Jesus — Jesus who they knew as one like themselves in his humanness, and yet Jesus who is transformed and is the son of God in power, the second person of the Trinity. And the disciples then, and we, too, I think, found it hard to see how this Jesus … now in their midst there at the table in the village of Emmaus, he opens the Scriptures and breaks the bread, and they realize it’s Jesus, the same one they’ve known for these years they traveled with them.
But now Jesus is totally transformed, a new way of life, and in this episode on that Easter Sunday night when those disciples come back from Emmaus and join the other disciples in the upper room, Jesus is suddenly there in their midst. But it’s really Jesus. “Touch me; touch me. Do you have something to eat?” And he eats it. He wants them to realize yes, he is alive. He’s in their midst in this glorious transformed way, and it’s very difficult to try to put into words. In fact, we really can’t put into words what happened to Jesus…