We might expect the disciples to be joyful when they encountered the risen Jesus. But each of the Gospels tells us that their first reaction was one of shock and fear. In today’s Gospel reading, Luke says that the disciples were ‘in a state of alarm and fright’ when Jesus appeared among them. They thought they were seeing a ghost.
Jesus calms his friends down, wishing them peace. He shows them his hands and feet, to let them see that he is not a ghost; he is the same person who was nailed to the Cross. He was really dead, and now he is truly risen. He even eats with them, as he has done so many times before. Then, Jesus teaches the disciples, opening their minds to understand how the Word of God in the Hebrew Scriptures has been fulfilled in him. And finally, he sends them out with a mission: to witness to all the nations about his life, death and resurrection; to preach the Good News of forgiveness of sins.
The mission that Jesus gives his disciples is our mission, too. Jesus has opened our minds, helping us to see the world in a different way. He has given us his peace, so that we can rest in his love, whatever difficulties we face in our lives. Jesus has promised us forgiveness for our sins, and he sends us out to share that Good News with all those we meet. We are his witnesses.