This is an addition (canonical) to Mark that contains a summary of postresurrection appearances. (Common to Luke 24 and John 20) A common theme running through this section is the disbelief of the Apostles.
This story contains a huge haul of fish that symbolizes the disciples as fishers of men. The appearance of the Risen Lord provides the energy and zeal for His followers to continue to be haulers of people.
There is a distinct missionary theme in these readings. Jesus tells us that all of His disciples are to be missionaries. This doesn’t mean that we have to go to foreign lands. We can be missionaries in our neighborhoods and workplaces.
Today’s story is the very familiar one of the disciples on the way to Emmaus. The disciples just can’t make a connection with regard to the recent events in Jerusalem and what God’s plan really is. Jesus explains how Sacred Scripture can make sense of God’s plan of a suffering messiah. In our lives, we sometimes can’t make the connection between events: the breakup of a relationship, loss of a job, a serious disease, the los of a loved one. We feel perplexed wondering if there is any rhyme or reason to events. This challenges us to trust in a God who “writes straight with crooked lines.” God’s Providence is at work.
In the gospels, Mary of Magdala is the primary witness to the Resurrection. No one actually saw the event itself, but she and Peter and the Beloved disciple are witnesses. She, however, is the primary witness. So, in addition to being a disciple of the Lord, she is an ambassador (apostle means that) of the resurrected Lord. She recognizes the Lord’s voice. Jesus had said earlier in the gospel according to John that His sheep would hear the voice of the Good Shepherd. Mary does just that.
The Church celebrates Easter Day for 8 days known as the Octave of Easter. So, each day is meant to be Easter. The Season of Easter will not conclude until Evening Prayer of Pentecost Sunday. Speaking of the Liturgy of the Hours, those who pray it are very aware of this as we use the same psalms as Easter for Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. Also, during the Octave, a double Alleluia is used.
With the mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday night, we begin the most sacred Three Day Period in the Church’s Liturgical Year. We call it the Triduum. I urge everyone to attend one or all of the liturgies on these days (especially the Easter Vigil which is the high point of the liturgical year). People assume what we do at these liturgies is a kind of “reenactment” of the historical events, like we do at Christmas.
“Precisely, because these faith-anchoring events are historical, they cannot be repeated or ‘Reenacted.’ That is why the church’s long tradition insists that what happened once in history passes over into the mystery of the assembly’s liturgical/sacramental celebrations. What the paschal triduum actually celebrates is mystery, not history; anamnesis, not mimesis. The liturgies of these days do not ‘take us back’ to the upper room or the path to Calvary. Their ultimate purpose is not to retrace or relive the last hours of Jesus’life- nor to catch sight of Him emerging from the tomb at Easter’s dawning. They celebrate not what once happened to Jesu but what is now happening among us as a people called to conversion, gathered in faith, and gifted with the spirit of holiness. They celebrate God’s taking possession of our hearts at their deepest core, recreating us as a new human community broken like bread for the world’s life-a community rich in compassion, steadfast in hope, and fearless in the search for justice and peace.” “The Three Days of Pascha”
Jesus is risen!