When new employees join a company it’s common to have an orientation to bring new people “on board.” A new employee needs to understand both the past and the future history of the company. How can they connect with what’s gone before? How can they be part of the company’s mission for the future?
In today’s Gospel, Jesus conducts a kind of “Christian orientation” for his startled and frightened disciples–most of whom are encountering him for the first time as the risen Lord. He first reassures them that he–Jesus–is the one they knew before the crucifixion. But there have been a few changes! He’s not a ghost; he is truly alive. And he shares a meal with his friends to prove it.
But they have their doubts anyway –perhaps some of the same doubts shared by Luke’s communities years later: How could Jesus be the promised Messiah and have suffered the terrible death by crucifixion? And so Jesus patiently interprets the Hebrew Scriptures to explain his mission as God’s “Suffering Servant.”
But the past is only preparation for the future! The message of the Good News must be preached to the ends of the earth. The disciples are now his witnesses–commissioned to carry his message to the world. And so are we who gather at our Easter Eucharist with the risen Lord today!
Sunday reflection by Father Greg Friedman, from St. Anthony Messenger Press, find it on the web at Franciscanmedia.org. Shared with permission.