An Easter Prayer (St. Luke 24: 36 — 49)
In traditional Hebrew Christian thinking, this is the eighth day of
WOUNDS STILL FRESH
Lord Jesus, the two disciples whom You accompanied to Emmaus are still breathlessly describing their experience with You to the other apostles when You appear in the midst of them all. “Peace to you! It is I, do not be afraid.” It is the old familiar greeting that they have so often heard You give them; but they are startled and panic-stricken, thinking You are a spirit.
Their panic is understandable, Lord, for the events of the past few days and above all the violence done to You whom they so loved have been a severe shock to them. They have seen You horribly mutilated and hung upon a cross. They have seen You die and then sealed in a tomb. And now You stand before them. Are they to believe their senses? Who has ever experienced anything like this?
Nevertheless, You ask: “Why are you disturbed, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and feet, that it is I myself. Feel me and see; for a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” And You show them Your hands and feet, the wounds still fresh. They are still doubtful (or are they simply mystified?), although there is a seed of joy expanding within them that is rapidly destroying the doubt.
You will fix that: You ask for food. A spirit does not eat material food. They give You fish and a honeycomb (in some translations only); You eat and show them the remains. Now their disbelief is transformed into love and longing.
They are ready for the explanation that You give: how and why it had to happen as it did. “Thus it is written; and thus the Christ should suffer, and should rise again from the dead on the third day; and that repentance (— regret, sorrow, contrition) and remission (— forgiveness, pardon) for sins should be preached in His to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And you yourselves are witnesses of these things. And I send forth upon you the promise of my Father. But wait here in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Lord Jesus, this is twice now that You insist that suffering had to be Your way to glory. It must be so, and I do believe it. Suffering, sorrow, death. Resurrection, joy, love. Such is the Law of Life that You establish for all of us whom by Baptism You have chosen to associate with Your plan for the world. There may be grief in the suffering and dying, but death is swallowed up in victory. The joy of possessing You again, possessing You arisen in victory is a joy that surpasses limitations of time, space, environment.
This is the day which the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Truly, Lord Jesus, this is a request of Your Church that it is a pleasure to obey. And having risen with You, we shall raise our desires to heaven, seeking the things that are above, relishing the things that are above. Grant, O Lord, that the virtue of the Easter Communion which we have received may ever remain in our souls! Amen. Come Lord Jesus!
Based on “Meditating the Gospels” by Emeric Lawrence, O.S.B.