“The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.”

The Second Sunday of Easter gives us the first ending of John’s Gospel (Jn 20:19-31).  It records the first appearance of Jesus to the disciples on the evening of His resurrection.  He appears to them in their locked room and shows them His wounds.  They rejoice at the sight of Him.  Then Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit on them and gives them the power to forgive sins.  The apostle Thomas was not there at the time and does not believe their story when He returns.  The following Sunday Jesus appears again, this time with Thomas present.  Jesus invites Thomas to handle Him so that he might come to believe, at which Thomas proclaims Jesus as Lord and God.  John concludes by saying that many of Jesus’ works were not included in His rendition of Jesus’ ministry but what He has written was for the reader come to belief and ultimately to eternal life.  When John talks about the initial encounter of the disciples with Jesus on Easter Sunday he does not mention any fear they might have had at His initial startling appearance.  Rather he focuses on the joy they felt (remember that he was one of that group) at seeing and hearing their Master, whom they thought was gone for good, once again.  We can imagine that they might think, after such a miracle, that Jesus now would be with them always.  In fact, shortly afterwards, just prior to His Ascension, Jesus does give just such an assurance (recorded in Matthew 28:20).  How grateful we should be of Jesus’ promise of a never ending closeness to His people.  Rejoicing should be our attitude when we encounter Christ at Mass, in His Word, and most especially in the Host.  Christ is risen, He lives, and He gives us life through grace.  We should also feel and express joy in our encounter with other Christs — that is, all with whom we interact.  Not only are we to see Jesus in everyone, we are to be Jesus to everyone, especially those we find most difficult with whom to deal.  Our place in heaven will be great (cf. Mt 5:12 and Lk 6:23)  and we will have been instrumental in filling up many other mansions (cf. Jn 14:2).

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