Gospel Luke 24:35-48
When I arrived here, more or less three years ago, Fr Jorge was new and he had to go to Europe for a meeting for one week. He said – Take care of the house, the Church and everything. I was alone for one week and sometimes with load shedding! People said to me – Are you not scared to be alone Fr, in the convent side there are ghosts, a nun that goes around at night making a noise. When I used to go into the convent to check the windows, taps and doors I used to think about the ghost! Sometimes when I used to come into the Church to pray I hear noises from the benches and my imagination runs wild.
Why am I telling you this? Do you believe in spirits and ghosts? Long time ago in Jesus’ time, they believed in these, just like us today. St Luke’s Gospel is addressed to those people, especially the Greek people that joined the Christian community. Socrates teaches that a person is composed of two – body and soul. For the Jewish people it wasn’t like that, a person is one body and soul that cannot be separated. But for the Greek’s it can be separated – the soul is eternal but the body will end here, the flesh is a prison for our soul. Us Christians have the Jewish legacy.
St Luke is telling us that Jesus, the Risen Lord had a body, not a material body, but a Resurrection so real that He asks for something to eat. What is the difference between the Risen Lord and a ghost? Ghosts appear and disappear with sheets! The Risen Lord is, He stood among them. How important it is to gather a community because in this way reality takes effect. Jesus doesn’t appear – He is. Not only here in the Church, but at home when you decide to light a candle to pray, Jesus is there. The Risen Lord is with us until the last day of our lives. Do you believe?
When Jesus wanted to tell them – It is I – what did he choose? His face, hands and feet. Next time when you are travelling outside SA and you need your passport, don’t put a picture of your face in your passport, put a picture of your hands or feet and show it to the Migration Officer! They will call you crazy!
Why did Jesus show them these? Because those Hands are the Hands of God, the Hands that created since the beginning, the Hands always with the people feeding them, accompanying them and protecting them, the Hands taking care of the prostitutes, the sinners and the blind, the Hands with the marks of the nails. And the marks on His Feet, a symbol to say He is coming from far away, a time not of this world, from the Heart of God, the first migrant from incarnation to stay with you forever.
He needs your hands and feet to continue this mission, to go to preach forgiveness, peace, love, reconciliation. What is happening now to preach love? Our world is in a huge crisis – not only health problems, but economic problems, religious problems and cultural problems. As Christians we need to believe that Jesus is always with us. We are losing hope and peace but Jesus is among us saying – Peace be with you.
What is the peace of Jesus, the Risen Lord? It’s not just a greeting; it’s a commitment, a responsibility. The peace that was announced by the Prophets at the time when the Messiah will come. The peace of Jesus is Shalom. Shalom means all the blessings that people need – to be loved, happy, to have necessities, good health, to have access to the wealth that God created for each one of us. The wealth of the world and our country is in the hands of very few people and for the rest its poverty. This is not the shalom that Jesus came to proclaim and teach. The real shalom is based on justice, equality, respect and responsibility. All of these values will produce peace. If we believe that Jesus is among us in the poor, the sick, our families, neighbours then we will receive the shalom Jesus preached.
Jesus is present in the tabernacle, He is waiting for us, talk to Him. God is there for us, to listen, to guide, to strengthen us and give us hope and this is the God in which we believe because He is the living God.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.