After his resurrection, Jesus assumed a glorified Body that was not subject to natural laws of gravity, space and time. As we saw last Sunday, He appeared to His Disciples who were living in fear under locked doors. In all his appearances his disciples did not recognize him until he speaks to them. It was because the disciples always thought they were seeing a ghost that Jesus kept on assuring and reassuring them that it was he their Lord and Master, the one they knew during his earthly ministry, the one who ate and drank with them, and the one who spoke to them and instructed them. He is the same Lord who was taken from them and was crucified, died and is now risen from the dead. This is what Jesus did when he encountered the two disciples on the way to Emmaus. As those two disciples were recounting their experience of the Risen Lord on the way and at the breaking of Bread, Jesus appeared again to his disciples who once more were terrified. He asked them: “why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” To prove to them the reality of the physical resurrection of his body, he asked for something to eat. After eating a piece of fish that was given to him, Jesus went along to remind them of his words to them that the scriptures were to be fulfilled (Luke 24:35-48).
Like the disciples of Jesus, in every holy Mass, we experience the Risen Lord. Fish in Greek Iktus, was the symbol of the Eucharist in the early Church. It expressed the disciples’ experiences of the Risen Lord as iesou, xristou, hious theou soter. Jesus Christ, the Son of God saves. It is in the Holy Mass that Jesus invites us to touch him and experience him in his real presence, in his true presence through the liturgy of the word and through the liturgy of the Eucharist. It is here that we experience Jesus Christ as the Son of God who saves. In the Liturgy of the Word, He explains the word of God to us. He himself is the word of God, He himself is the interpreter of the word of God, He himself, is the meaning of the word of God, as well as the preacher of the word of God. In the Liturgy of the Eucharist, he opens our eyes to recognize him as the one, who at the last supper offered himself to us in the form of bread and wine to celebrate in memory of him. Jesus in every holy Mass is present with us in mystery, he invites us to communion with himself and with one another. In every holy Mass, Jesus leads us into the mystery of his life, death and resurrection. As we celebrate, the one who gave the memorial of his body and blood as food for our journey accompanies us through life journey until we reach the promised land of heaven. In every holy Mass, we re-enact the one sacrifice of the Cross offered once for all on Calvary. We re-enact this sacrifice in an un-bloody way in every holy Mass, giving us the opportunity to benefit from the fruits of the Cross, and to experience the great love of God for us, who meets us in all our needs and in every life situation.
It is the experience of Jesus Christ in the holy Mass that emboldened St. Peter and the apostles to bear fearless witness of the Christ-event to their contemporaries. St. Peter preached to the people, how the God of the patriarchs glorified his servant, Jesus, whom they handed over and disowned in Pilate’s presence, when he was ready to release him. They disowned the Holy and Just One and preferred instead to be granted the release of a murderer. They put to death the Author of life. But God raised him from the dead. As a great witness to those events, Peter preached to the people to believe in the fulfillment of all the prophecies about the Messiah, who would suffer. For that reason, they should reform their lives, turn to God, to have their sins wiped away (Acts 3:13-15, 17-19). This also was the experience of St. John. He tells us that Jesus Christ is our great intercessor in the presence of the Father, who is just. He is an offering for our sins, not only for ours, but for the whole world (1 John 2:1-5).
In every holy Mass, let us therefore come with greater reverence and appreciation to receive the gifts of God’s great treasure. What we get, depends mostly on the degree of our openness and receptivity. In this way we will feel, touch and experience Jesus Christ, Our Risen Lord and Savior.