A Thought from the Bishop’s Chapel — Easter Thursday, April 16

“Peace be with you” (Luke 24:36).  Our Lord speaks these words of greeting when He appears to His disciples following the Resurrection.  “Peace be with you.”   They are words of reassurance.   Then, He poses rhetorical questions to challenge them to faith.   “Why are you troubled?” (Luke 24:38), He asks.   “And why do questions arise in your hearts?” (Luke 24:38), he insists.   Then, he invites.   “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” (Luke 24:39).   inally, because he senses that they are still “incredulous,” albeit for joy, He asks for something to eat (Luke 24:41).  Curious request, isn’t it?  They hand him a piece of baked fish, which he eats “in front of them” (Luke 24:42-43).   The point?  Ghosts do not eat! 

The Lord is present.  The Kingdom is to be preached to all the world, beginning with a call to repentance (Luke 24:47; cf. Matthew 28:19).  And what is this Kingdom to which the Lord calls us, a Kingdom that begins with repentance and a change of heart?  

A concise answer to this question is given by Pope Benedict XVI.  “Jesus himself is the Kingdom; the Kingdom is not a thing, it is not a geographical dominion like worldly kingdoms.  It is a person; it is he.  On this interpretation, the term ‘Kingdom of God’ is itself a veiled Christology.  By the way in which he speaks of the Kingdom of God, Jesus leads men to realize the overwhelming fact that in him God himself is present among them, that he is God’s presence” (Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration, Ignatius Press, 2008, p. 49).  Indeed, He is not a ghost!