Today’s Gospel instils faith and hope, and at the same time it also weighs us with responsibility. We will hear how Jesus’ disciples and friends were confused and disheartened. Jesus had died on the cross. Some among them said that Jesus had risen from the dead and had appeared to them. It could also be that they felt guilty for abandoning Jesus during his passion and death. How many times, have we also felt confused and downhearted, maybe even forgotten from those close to us, or else we felt burdened with some decisions we had taken? Then, suddenly, and unexpectedly, something happens, we may meet someone, or read something, or else someone calls us, and we have a change in outlook. This is our God; he is faithful and does not abandon us. He does not leave us on our own.
Had Jesus wanted to do so, after rising from the dead, he could have gone to heaven, near the Father. Instead, since he knew that those whom he loved were troubled, since he recognised that they had not yet understood, since he wanted the apostles to continue spreading his message, bringing it to us in time, Jesus continued to meet with his friends, giving them courage and helping them understand that he was indeed alive. He also continued to explain his teachings and their new mission. Jesus continued to meet his friends, so that they would believe, that he would be always with them. It is Jesus who seeks out his friends and not the other way round. The first thing that he says to them is “Peace be with you.” Jesus wishes them the same peace that reigned when God created the world and rested on the seventh day. We can only have this peace when we are in harmony with God, when we are in harmony with creation. We all yearn for this peace. It is the peace that Jesus wishes us to have, and he wishes us to pass it on to others. This is the peace we receive when we love and forgive without reservation.
We notice, that after rising from the dead, Jesus eats with his friends, on several occasions. The sharing of food strengthens relationships. As parents, it is well to keep family meals as a special together time, to get to know each other better and know what the rest of the family is going through. This is then extended to another special meal: the Eucharist. Go to mass together as a family, and there you will join a much bigger family: the family of God.