Today’s gospel defies all the self-help books about achieving inner peace. Peace is pure gift, according to Luke. Furthermore, it comes unexpectedly, during confusion, mourning, terror and anxiety. The disciples find it too good to be true.
To alert them to reality, Jesus asks for something to eat. He reminds us of adolescents who are always hungry, or long-awaited guests whom we welcome with a special meal. This touchstone in human nature apparently convinces the skeptical. Wisely, Jesus starts with bodily needs, then “opened their minds to understand the scriptures.” (24: 45)
How ironic that he tells the poor, uncertain, wavering crew: “You are witnesses of these things” (48). They are hardly the finest spokespersons, but then, neither are we. We have the same mixture of doubt and certainty, anxiety and joy that they had. Jesus always seems to choose the most unlikely prospects. As Desmond Tutu says, Our God is an expert at dealing with chaos, with brokenness, with all the worst that we can imagine.”
And to all, Jesus extends the same invitation: “touch me and see.” Only by coming dangerously close to this wounded Christ will we too know transformation of our wounds—and resurrection.