To understand how significant the Resurrection event was, I think it’s helpful to try and put together a picture of how the disciples had to be feeling at this point. So prior to today’s Gospel selection, the women found the empty tomb, Peter has seen the Lord, and the two disciples had experienced him in the breaking of the bread on the way to Emmaus. Their minds were most likely reeling with excitement; trying to get a grip on the things he had said to them while he was still with them. I’m sure they were trying to figure out what all this meant, what they needed to do next.
Maybe that’s why the Lord’s initial words to them are “Peace be with you.” Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t seem to work, because the disciples think they’re seeing a ghost. After Jesus eats some fish and speaks to them of the Scriptures, he sends them on mission with the very poignant words: “You are witnesses of these things.”
The peace that Jesus gives them is certainly not the absence of conflict. That they will be witnesses to the fulfillment of the Scriptures will be anything but peaceful for them. They will have to make sacrifices – sacrifices of their very lives – to witness as Jesus calls them to, but there is no other choice. They are now beginning to understand the significance of what has happened among them, and they must go forward to do what they had been chosen to do.
When we have to make the decision to follow God’s call in our lives, we too will have to sacrifice. Not our lives, probably, but we will have to sacrifice our own comfort, our control over our own lives, our own point of view. But just like the disciples, we must remember what we have been chosen to do, and follow where we are being led.
We are witnesses of these things too, we are called to live and proclaim the Gospel. May we too receive the peace of Christ that we might focus on our call.