Saturday within the Octave of Easter
Acts 4:13-21 Psalm 118:1 and 14-15ab, 16-18, 19-21 Mk 16:9-15
Lunch with a Friend – Why was Jesus hard to recognize?
I once was having lunch with a friend when he asked me – Why is it that no one recognized Jesus when he rose from the dead? At that time I had a difficult time answering the question – and the implication – that Jesus did not rise from the dead, but rather that someone disguised as Jesus did. This doesn’t really satisfy on a few accounts
- Someone dressing up does not explain Thomas’ reaction, or Jesus walking through the walls, or the guards fleeing, or the earth quakes, or people rising from the dead.
- All of the Apostles (except for John) died horrible deaths. The odds of 11 men voluntarily going to death for a hoax is about zero.
When in doubt – ask St Augustine.
St. Augustine explained that The Apostles were surprised to see Jesus risen from the dead because they were not expecting him. They did not plan to see him again – so he was not recognizable to them. We see in today’s Gospel that Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene, and to the disciples on the Road to Emmaus that they did not recognize him until the breaking of the Bread. It was an Aha moment, where they finally perceived Him.
They were consumed with the tragedy of the crucifixion that they had not yet had time to move beyond the cross into the Resurrection. We often have to remember in our Church where we experience Easter instantaneously, we very readily move from the grave to the Resurrection, that the Apostles were not so quick on the uptake. They were not expecting to see something out of place, so they didn’t recognize Jesus right away.
Our Response to God's good works - Thanksgiving
In the Acts of the Apostles the Jewish leaders perceived that the Apostles were ordinary men – yet they spoke with truth and conviction. They gave glory to God for the work he has done through Jesus Christ.
In the Psalms we see that God always has the initiative, that he is always acting, and that we are always responding with praise and thanksgiving.
Easter is a time of thanksgiving – so let us give thanks to God for all of the good things that he has done for us this day – recognizing that he has called us – ordinary women and men to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”