In today’s gospel, the disciples see Jesus in the flesh. Knowing their friend was crucufied, rather than be delighted at seeing their teacher alive again, they were horrified.
“In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. … But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts stirring in your hearts?”
Maybe it’s because they had reason to be horrified. Father Pete made a great point in his homily: they deserted Jesus when he needed them most. During his passion in the garden they were sound asleep. And when he was crucified they were nowhere near. So it was their consciences haunting them, not Jesus.
But when Jesus reassured them that he was alive in a way that some day they will be alive (immortal in body and soul), they were not only joyful but mindful that from this day forward their mortal lives would never be the same. With Jesus’ resurrection came a new job for them: global gospel spreaders. This good news had to be shared with all mortal beings so they could prepare to be worthy of immortality.
How could anyone imagine the joy that eventuality will bring? Think how it felt when you learned of the death of someone you loved with all your heart. Didn’t you ever dream about seeing them alive again? That feeling of elation and unity will be ours for eternity when Christ visits us as he did his disciples. That is, it will be ours if we meet him with clean consciences. As John wrote in today’s second reading:
“Anyone who does keep his word, in such a one God’s love truly reaches its perfection. This is the proof that we are in God.”