Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.
While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The Risen Christ commissions his disciples to “proclaim repentance and forgiveness,” a commandment Peter follows in today’s first reading, urging the people to “repent…so that your sins may be wiped out.” (Acts 3:19)
Repentance (meta-noia, “change of mind,” in Luke’s Greek) means more than quitting sin. It means a radical conversion of one’s values and viewpoint.
This is not an easy or comfortable thing. Consider a startling prayer at the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises. St. Ignatius counsels the aspirant to pray for “shame and confusion” over one’s sins.
Shame and confusion enable truth to enter the self-centered mind. As one becomes Christ-centered, however, one receives the confidence, gratitude and happiness of true repentance.
Imagine the disciples’ feelings as they receive the Risen Christ. The worst possible sin has been committed, but the murdered Christ returns, still urging us to repent and be forgiven.
—Deacon Gerald Nora works as a hospital chaplain and gives spiritual direction at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House.
Lord Jesus Christ, I give you thanks for giving me another day to bring my life into the holiness you intend for me. Let me not presume upon your steadfast love. No matter how badly I have sinned, grant that today I will make a good start. Be in my thoughts, words and deeds. However unworthy my heart, enter and make it your own, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
—Deacon Gerald NoraPlease share the Good Word with your friends!