Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle B

Third Sunday of Easter

 

 Luke 24: 35-48

“Yes, it is I indeed”

Today’s account is from St. Luke. The two disciples from Emmaus had just told the apostles and others of their experience and how they had recognised Jesus “at the breaking of bread”, and as they were all discussing these events, Jesus appeared to them once more. Again his greeting was of peace, but they were not fully at peace within themselves. Rather they were “in a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost”. In response, Jesus showed them the wounds of his hands and feet, “Yes, it is I indeed”. This is the astonishing message of today's Gospel - it is truly the same Jesus who was nailed to the cross that is standing here now, saying “touch me and see for yourselves”.

In recording this appearance narrative for us Luke is assuring us that this is not simply the story of a good man whose name ‘lives on’ after his death. Equally it is not telling of a new purely spiritual existence for Jesus as if just “his soul goes marching on”! This is an emphatic insistence on the bodily resurrection of our Lord. Though the risen body is obviously different - transformed, glorified - it is still the same body, still the same person, still the same Jesus. There is real continuity between the earthly and the risen Jesus.

This insistence is important to us too, for it assures us of real continuity between our own existence in this present earthly state and our own life after death. We have tended to speak too narrowly of the ‘soul’ living on after death and yet we profess our belief “in the resurrection of the body”, still the same person called into the presence of God, able to say "it is I indeed". We shall not inhabit some grey haunt of ghosts, but enter a richly satisfying existence in which we shall know our dear ones and be known by them. That is Gospel - truly Good News.