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Blessed are those who have not seen, yet believe

Based on the Gospel of Luke 24:35-48
Earlier in Luke’s Gospel, two of the disciples walked with a stranger from Jerusalem to Emmaus; it was only in the breaking of the bread during the meal they shared that they recognized the stranger as Jesus.

In this Sunday’s Gospel, the two disciples excitedly race back to Jerusalem to tell the 11 apostles and others gathered in the upper room what had happened. Suddenly, Jesus appears among them. Startled and frightened because they think they’re seeing a ghost, they stop talking. Jesus says, “Peace be with you. Why are you upset? Why do you have doubts? Look at my hands and feet. I am here in person. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you can see I have.”

The apostles are joyful and astounded at what has happened. To emphasize even more that he is no ghost, Jesus asks for something to eat. They give Jesus a piece of baked fish, which he takes and eats in front of them.

Then Jesus says, “While I was with you, I told you that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms had to happen.”

Jesus explains to them that the Scriptures, which told of his suffering, death and rising from the dead after three days, have been fulfilled. They begin to understand that Jesus had done what his Father had sent him to do. Jesus calls the apostles his witnesses because they have seen all these things happen. He also calls them to evangelize, to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins to all nations.

Before the apostles will go forth as missionaries to evangelize, Jesus will send them the Holy Spirit who will teach them the full meaning of the Gospel message and will fill them with grace to make them his powerful witnesses. We will hear about this on the upcoming feast of Pentecost.

Jesus has said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe in me.” We may not have seen with our own eyes all that happened to Jesus but we believe. Through baptism we became members of the Catholic Church Jesus founded. We, too, are called to follow Jesus, to live as he taught us, and to be witnesses for him by our prayers, words and actions.

At Mass, we listen to and learn from the Scripture readings and are nourished and strengthened to live our faith by fervently receiving Jesus in holy Communion.

Jesus, help us to know you better, to love you more, and to serve you faithfully – to be your witnesses.