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 brings us today to the end of Easter day. The two disciples of Emmaus have just arrived at the cenacle to tell the disciples all 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 caught in fear, had remained closed in that room. It was certainly a place full of memories, but risked remaining closed and self-protective. We all know that fear well. How many times do we close the door of our hearts, of our homes, of our groups, of the community, and of our families in order to remain quiet, for fear of losing something? Yet, the Risen One continues to be with us, even placing himself at the centre, not to the side as one person among others, as one word spoken among others. He enters and comes to the centre, as a Word that saves. The disciples, seized by fear, take him for a ghost. They had first heard the announcement from the women, but their distance from Jesus during the days of his Passion had blinded their minds and hardened their hearts. The evangelist suggests that incredulity takes hold of the believers each time they distance themselves from Jesus and allow themselves to be overcome by fear. But Jesus immediately says: "Peace be with you!" It is the Risen One's first word; as if to say that peace is the first fruit of the resurrection. True, it is not the peace of one's own tranquillity, but that which comes from love of others. Yes, the peace of Easter pushes us to go out of ourselves to meet others. Easter peace is a new energy of love, which invades the world. This seems impossible to the apostles. Jesus is definitely dead; his word has been killed forever. They do not believe what he had told them many times, that he would rise again after he died. They are frightened to see him. 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, we think they are absurd, precisely like a ghost! The Gospel, on the other, hand creates a new reality, a new community, one that is real, made up of persons who previously were dispersed and fearful and, who, after hearing the Gospel, found themselves together in a new brotherhood. It is what happened on that day too with Jesus who began to eat with them: life continued as it was in the years before Easter. That meal continued the previous ones they had with Jesus. It is the same also for us every time we gather around the table of the Lord to break his very body.