Prayer of Easter

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Christ is risen from the dead
and will die no more.
He awaits us in Galilee!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 24,35-48

Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread. They were still talking about all this when he himself stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you!' In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, 'Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts stirring in your hearts? See by my hands and my feet that it is I myself. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.' And as he said this he showed them his hands and his feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, as they were dumbfounded; so he said to them, 'Have you anything here to eat?' And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes. Then he told them, 'This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms, was destined to be fulfilled.' He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, 'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Christ is risen from the dead
and will die no more.
He awaits us in Galilee!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel reading of today’s Mass brings us to the end of the day of Easter. The two disciples on the way to Emmaus had just arrived at the upper room to tell the disciples about “what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.” The apostles, still afraid, had remained locked up in that room. It was certainly a place full of memories, but it risked remaining a closed and protective place. We are all familiar with their fear: how often do we close the doors of our hearts, our homes, our groups, the community, and our families to get some peace and quiet or out of our fear of losing something? Yet, the Risen One continues to be with us; in fact, he puts himself at the centre, not to the side like just one person among others, like one word among others. He enters and comes to the centre as a Word that saves. And his first words after the resurrection are a greeting of peace: “Peace be with you!” The disciples, gripped by fear and resignation, take him for a ghost. They had heard the women’s proclamation, but their distance from Jesus during the days of his Passion had fogged their minds and hardened their hearts. The evangelist seems to suggest that disbelief takes hold of the disciples every time they distance themselves from Jesus and allow themselves to be overcome by fear. But Jesus immediately says: “Peace be with you!” These are the Risen One’s first words, as if to say that peace is the first fruit of the resurrection. Yet, it is not the peace of personal serenity, but the peace that comes from loving others. Yes, the peace of Easter makes us go out of ourselves to meet others. Easter peace is a new energy of love, which lays siege to the world. This seems impossible to the apostles. Jesus is truly dead; his word has been killed forever. Even though he had told them many times that he would rise again after he died, they do not believe him. They are frightened to see him. They think they are seeing a ghost. But Jesus lovingly reproaches them: “Why are you frightened?” And he repeats what he had said so frequently in the past: he would be put to death and he would rise. How often do we too not believe Jesus’ words, and when they are repeated to us, we think they are unrealistic, like a ghost! The Gospel creates a new reality, a new community, one that is real, made up of people who previously were scattered and fearful and, who, after hearing the Gospel, find themselves together in a new brotherhood. That is what happened that day when Jesus began to eat with them: life continued as it had in the years before Easter. That meal was a continuation of the ones that had taken place with Jesus. And so it is for us, too, each time we gather together around the Lord’s altar to break his body.