The gospel readings during the week after Easter unpack the tremendous event of Jesus’ resurrection particularly from the perspective of how the disciples experienced that event. What must it have been like for the disciples to encounter Jesus after his cruel death on the cross?
Today’s reading follows immediately after the encounter with Jesus by the two disciples on their way to Emmaus. Once recognized as the Lord, the two immediately returned to Jerusalem to share their good news: “they recognized him in the breaking of the bread.” Jesus came to them in their sorrow and walked along the road with them. While they were sharing their incredible story Jesus appears to the whole group: “Peace be with you.”
Jesus is with them and eager to meet them as they are; the two on the road away from Jerusalem in all their grief, sadness and anger over Jesus’ death don’t immediately recognize him. He simply walks with them and opens the scripture to them. The disciples huddled together out of fear for their lives are “startled and terrified,” and they think they are seeing a “ghost.” Clearly they are befuddled by Jesus untimely death. How does Jesus encounter us?