Prayer in Eastertime

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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 to the end of the day of Easter. The two disciples of 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 Eleven and the others, still caught by fear, had remained locked up in the upper room. It was certainly a place full of memories, but it risked remaining a closed room, locked up to protect themselves. 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 be tranquil or out of our fear of losing something? Yet, the Risen One returns 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. The disciples, gripped by fear, 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 believers every time they distance themselves from Jesus and allow themselves to be overcome by fear. But as soon as he enters with the doors closed, Jesus 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. Easter peace is a new energy of love that fills the world. This seems impossible to the apostles. They are frightened to see him. Jesus reproaches them: "Why are you frightened?" And he repeats what he had told them many times: the chiefs of the people would put him to death and he would rise again. How often we too do 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 find themselves together in a new brotherhood. That meal on Easter evening was the fulfilment of the kingdom of love.