In today’s Gospel we see the steadfast love of God active in the risen Jesus as He appears to His disciples. St. Francis de Sales notes that the purpose of this appearance is to affirm their faith in the God of Jesus Christ:
When the disciples were assembled in the cenacle with the doors closed, our Savior stood in their midst and greeted them: Peace be with you. He showed them his hands and his side. Why does He do this? To bolster their faith that was shaken by the crucifixion of Jesus, to whom they were attached. Without the presence of Our Savior, they felt timid and lacked strength. Such is the case when one is without God. They were afraid. Like a ship tossed in a storm without a pilot, such was this poor boat. Our Lord appeared to his disciples to bring relief to their fear. His power gently gives us power.
In Jesus, death was swallowed up in victory. He takes our miseries and ennobles them. Do you have need of strength? Here are my hands. Do you have need of a heart? Here is mine. He shows us his wounds through love. Jesus came into this world to teach us what we need to do to preserve in ourselves the beauty and the divine resemblance that He has so completely repaired and embellished in us. When we recognize the likeness of the Creator in us, then we are able to see the image of God in others. Let us walk as Jesus who chose to give his life for those who would take it from Him.
What a joy it is to reflect on how the Holy Spirit pours into our hearts the first rays and perceptions of divine light and warmth. O good Jesus, may we be open to the peace that you offer us. May we be rooted in faith, joyful in hope and fervent in holy love, as we await your future coming!
(Adapted from Saint Francis de Sales, Oeuvres).