Three times in today's Psalm we cry out a victory shout: "His mercy endures forever." Truly we've known the everlasting love of God, who has come to us as our Savior. By the blood and water that flowed from Jesus' pierced side (see John 19:34), we've been made God's children, as we hear in today's Epistle.
Yet we never met Jesus, never heard him teach, never saw him raised from the dead. His saving Word came to us in the Church--through the ministry of the apostles, who in today's Gospel are sent as he was sent.
He was made a life-giving Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 15:45) and he filled his apostles with that Spirit. As we hear in today's First Reading, they bore witness to his resurrection with great power. And through their witness, handed down in the Church through the centuries, their teaching and traditions have reached us (see Acts 2:42). We encounter him as the apostles did--in the breaking of the bread on the Lord's day (see Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10).
There is something liturgical about the way today's Gospel scenes unfold. It's as if John is trying to show us how the risen Lord comes to us in the liturgy and sacraments. In both scenes it is Sunday night. The doors are bolted tight, yet Jesus mysteriously comes. He greets them with an expression, "Peace be with you," used elsewhere by divine messengers (see Daniel 10:19; Judges 6:23). He shows them signs of His real bodily presence. And on both nights the disciples respond by joyfully receiving Jesus as their "Lord."
Isn't this what happens in the Mass--where our Lord speaks to us in his Word, and gives himself to us in the sacrament of his body and blood?
Let us approach the altar with joy, knowing that every Eucharist is the day the Lord has made--when the victory of Easter is again made wonderful in our eyes.
Ps 118:2--4, 13--15, 22--24
1 Jn 5:1--6
Scott Hahn is the founder and president of the Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology. He is also the bestselling author of numerous books including The Lamb's Supper, Reasons to Believe, and Rome Sweet Home (co-authored with his wife, Kimberly). Some of his newest books are The Creed, Joy to the World and Evangelizing Catholics.