3rd Sunday of Easter B21
Whose story do you believe the most, especially concerning the Resurrection; Mark, Matthew, Luke, or John? Each writer has a somewhat different take of that event although they all agree about the empty tomb and women, especially Mary Magdalene, were the first to encounter the Risen Christ. After that, they diverge some, putting down what was helpful to each one’s theology and would become important to the communities to whom they were writing.
Today’s Gospel gives us Luke’s version, with his unique details, of what John told us last week. When Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women related the apostles what the two men in dazzling garments told them, the men thought it was nonsense and didn’t believe them. But Peter ran the tomb, bent down, and the saw the burial cloths, was amazed, and went home. Then Luke has two disciples walking to the village of Emmaus, discussing the events of that weekend, meeting a stranger who shares his knowledge of the Scriptures, has a meal with them and takes bread blesses it, breaks it and gives it to them. Finally, their blinders drop and they recognize Jesus who immediately vanishes.
That brings us to the start of today’s Gospel as they are telling the Eleven and others about their encounter after learning that Jesus had already appeared to Peter. At this point, the apostles and the others with them have already heard two different accounts of the Resurrection as well as the witness of the women. Suddenly Jesus stood in their midst and addressed them. Yet they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost because only a ghost would be able to enter their hiding place without anyone opening the locked door. But Jesus said “touch me” and showed them hands and feet with the mark of the nails. If that wasn’t enough to convince them that he was flesh and bones and the same Jesus who had been crucified, he asked them for something to eat which he ate in front of them! They went from believing in a ghost to being incredulous and amazed; but they were still some ways off from genuine belief.
Then Jesus opened their minds to understand Scripture, not from their perception but his, giving them a new and different comprehension of what they thought they knew. They, with Jesus’ guidance, began to reinterpret their faith and to transform their lives.
God’s word is alive! It is always challenging us to ponder more deeply, to think more creatively, to live more hopefully. God’s word is always new and reveals its newness to us, not allowing us to put it into concrete, imprisoning it to one way of thinking, yours or mine.
Moving on through life, we can cling to our ways of thinking and our points of view; or, we can allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to let Jesus and the Spirit to expand our sight and insights to open for us new ways of understanding and acting. DON’T LET IT EVER END!!!