These are the first words Jesus speaks to the Apostles both in today’s Gospel and in last week’s. Remember, last week he appeared to them in the locked room. That was when Thomas wasn’t with the others. A week later he came back, and again He greeted them “Peace be with you.” Now today He comes back as they were talking to the two disciples who had met Jesus on the road to Emmaus` and what are his first words? “Peace be with you.”
See, here’s the thing. Jesus was dead. They saw Him die. He was as dead as Monty Python’s parrot. Now, here He is again “in the flesh”. That had to be a frightening thing to experience. He knew that so He started his conversation with them by offering them “Peace”.
In today’s Gospel Luke writes that they were “startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost.” So Jesus said to them, “Hey. Do you have anything to eat?” “They gave Him a piece of baked fish and He ate it in front of them.” He did that to prove that He wasn’t a ghost. If a ghost had eaten the fish it would have just fallen on the floor.
A little sidebar here, if you read the entire Gospel of Luke you’ll see that Jesus was always eating. The book is full of dinners that Jesus attended with various people. Luke loved to write about these events. So it’s no surprise that even after Jesus has died and been risen from the dead that Luke would introduce some food. Luke’s Jesus would have loved Saint Louis fish fries during Lent. But, I digress.
Jesus tells the Apostles that everything written about Him in the law of Moses and in the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.
Now, if we look back at the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, also written by Luke, Peter says to the people, “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus.” Remember, in Jesus times there were lots of gods running around. There were Roman gods, and Greek gods, and Egyptian gods. But Peter tells the people that Jesus didn’t come from any of those phony-baloney gods, He came from The God. Capital T, capital G. The God of our fathers.
But, he doesn’t stop there. He goes on to say “You denied the holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you.” Then here’s the real zinger, “The author of life you put to death.” Ouch!
But John, in his letter, our second reading, gives us hope. He tells us not to sin, but if we do sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ. He is expiation for our sins.” How can we be sure of this? Keep Jesus’ commandments. And His commandments are very simple. Love Him and love our neighbors. That’s it. It’s amazing how many people can’t get that right.
PEACE BE WITH YOU.