This chapter is packed!
We have Luke’s account of the Resurrection in vv. 1-12. Notice the first verse: on the first day of the week- that is, Sunday. The significance here is huge for all sorts of reason. Think back to Genesis, remember the 10 commandments, remember Jesus’s teaching about the Sabbath… this was the only day that Jesus could have Resurrected from the dead- it just makes sense. We now gather on this day to remember the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, on this the first day of the week. I like to think of it this way: Sunday does not mark the end of the weekend and Mass is not the last thing we do before going back to work or school or whatever. Instead, Sunday is the first day of the week in which we prepare for the week ahead and receive our nourishment from God’s Word and Eucharist as food for the journey as we make our way through the week.
Jesus first appears to a pair of disciples as they make their way to Emmaus (vv. 13-35) and then to the rest of them in a locked room (vv. 36-49). Luke notes that all fo this happens on Sunday afternoon and into the evening.
Some salient points here: notice the emphasis on Jesus “opening up the Scriptures” to the two disciples. Jesus unpacks for them the Old Testament and in doing so makes room for the New Testament that will become, in a way, our bread and butter by way of Scripture. That’s what we strive to do every week when we gather for Mass. We ask the priest to open up the Scripture for us so that may learn from Jesus and apply his teachings and our faith in him to our everyday life.
Jesus then ascends into Heaven at the end of this chapter. He has ascended but will indeed come back: his coming in the Pentecost which is recounted in the Acts of the Apostles in a prefigurment of his second bodily coming at the end of the age. And so we wait, confident in his promises. We remember what he told us, what he promised us and we Hope in those things.
Point for Prayer
Risen Jesus, I hear your first risen word, Peace. I am grateful for this most needed gift of peace. You reconcile me to you, to others, and to myself. As your peace takes more and more possession of me, I will be able to bring that to others. I praise you forever. Amen”(216).