In Chapter I of the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that Jesus stayed among his followers for 40 days after his resurrection. After all his suffering, wouldn’t we expect Jesus to choose to go straight to heaven to be with his Father? Jesus continues to love us.
In Matthew’s Gospel, we read that the risen Jesus told Mary Magdalene and her companions not to be afraid but to go tell his brothers that they would see him in Galilee. (Matthew 28:10) And when Jesus saw his disciples, he assured them that he would be with them always and commissioned them to make disciples in every nation, baptizing them and teaching them to observe all his teachings. (Matthew 28:18-20) Jesus did not want them to be fearful or feel alone. He loved them.
In the episode described in the passage from Mark’s Gospel read at Mass today, Jesus told his followers to go in to “the whole world” to proclaim the Gospel and, in his name, drive out demons, heal the sick, and speak in new tongues—all of this in spite of whatever dangers that might challenge them. (Mark 16:15-20) Disciples have Jesus’ promises of signs, miracles, and safety because they have Jesus’ love.
In the famous passage in Luke’s Gospel, we read about Jesus explaining Scripture to two disciples as they walked to Emmaus. He wanted them to open their hearts and understand. He loved them. (Luke 24:13-35) We read a few verses later that he also helped the eleven remaining apostles to understand the scriptures after telling them all to be at peace. (Luke 24:36-49) Again, Jesus commissioned his disciples to witness to the good news of salvation. He told them he was sending what the Father has promised—the Holy Spirit. Understanding. Hope. The promise of help. What love!
John’s Gospel (chapters 20-21) shows us a busy Jesus after his resurrection. He told Mary Magdalene to be at peace as she hurried to tell his brothers she had seen him. Jesus basically instituted the sacrament of reconciliation when he appeared to the eleven apostles after telling them also to be at peace. He affirmed a faith based on belief in him and his word, and not on actual physical encounter. (Thomas certainly learned his lesson!)
Jesus helped seven disciples to catch many fish and then told them to eat some of what they had just caught. Do you think he might have been suggesting that we disciples should put to good use our many gifts? Spread some love around?
Also in John’s Gospel, we read that Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” (21:15-19) Hmm. Three times! Forgiveness again! Maybe sometimes we have to remind ourselves we, like Peter, fall short in our love, but we do want to follow Jesus and are joyful that we can atone for our lapses. In love, Jesus gives us new chances to follow him.
Let us bask in the Easter truth of Jesus’ love as we recite in the responsorial psalm (Psalm 89:2) for today:
I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever
with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
Painting: Supper at Emmaus, Michelangelo Merisi (Caravaggio), 1601. National Gallery, London. Public domain.
Scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, Connecticut. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.