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NOT A GHOST BUT THE RISEN CHRIST

Father Francis's picture
The Octave of Easter

Acts. 3:11-26 & Lk. 24:35-48

The apostles needed a great deal of reassuring that Jesus had risen from the dead. He had already appeared to them on Easter Sunday and shown them His wounded body to prove that He was alive and risen. Yet it appears from today's Gospel reading that there were still doubts in their minds.

While the two disciples were recounting their meeting with the risen Lord on the Emmaus road to the apostles Jesus appeared to them yet again. Despite His usual Easter greeting of “Peace be with you” they panicked and were frightened thinking they were seeing a ghost. Jesus wanted to dispel all their doubts that He was not real. “A ghost has no flesh and bones as you see I have.” To prove He was alive and real, He told them to take a good look at His hands and feet which bore the marks of the nails, and to touch Him. He even asked for something to eat which no ghost could have done. All this proves that Christianity is not founded on the dreams of men's disordered minds, but on Jesus who faced, fought and conquered death, and rose again.

That Jesus has risen is a fact. Now, He needs men and women to be His witnesses, making this fact known throughout the world. Among His first witnesses were Peter and John who had seen both the empty tomb and the risen Christ. They understood that everything foretold by the prophets had been fulfilled. It became their mission to tell the world what could be achieved through the power of Jesus' name.

The world still needs to be told about the name of Jesus. There is so much conflict and unhappiness around us, and people of goodwill often become frustrated in the search for a solution to their problems. But Jesus has overcome the world and He has the power to change what we cannot change. We see how effective Peter and John could be. Who would have thought that they could make a crippled man walk? They were only able to do this through the powerful name of the Risen Lord Jesus and today Jesus calls we baptised Christians to follow the example of the two apostles and proclaim to our world that Jesus is God. He has risen and He is the one to whom we can all ask to make our world a better place.

If we are to be effective witnesses we must first experience the power of the Risen Lord in our own lives. This we will only do, as Peter tells us, by allowing Jesus to guide us and change us. We must be trying constantly, with Jesus' help, to become more loving people so that we can demonstrate to the world that He is making a difference in our lives. We can hardly expect to change the world into a better place if Jesus is not making us better people.

Lord Jesus, like Peter and John, we believe You are risen. Make us more loving and caring people and so effective witnesses of Your resurrection, to draw others closer to You.

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