In the Gospel reading today we see that two of the disciples of Jesus Christ are walking on a road from Jerusalem to a town seven miles away called Emmaus. These two men were conversing with each other about the things that took place in Jerusalem in the past few days, that is, the crucifixion, death and supposed resurrection of their Master. As they walked and spoke with each other about these things, a man appeared and began to walk beside them. It was the risen Christ. The Gospel of St. Luke chapter 24, explains that the disciples “eyes were restrained” from recognizing that it was Christ. In this unrecognizable state, Jesus played “dumb” and asked what they were talking about. They explain to him how Jesus was a great teacher and the expected Messiah of Israel, but that he was handed over to the Romans by the Jews and eventually killed by crucifixion. Their explanation of the things that occurred seem to convey to the reader that they were disappointed at the outcome, and in someway downtrodden over their experience with Jesus Christ. The unrecognizable Christ explained how the Messiah had to suffer in order to fulfill the Scriptures. Then a good distance into their travels they wanted to lodge at a hotel and invited Jesus to join them. There, Jesus broke bread with them (Qurbana), and at that moment, the “scales” (the restraint) from their eyes were removed and they recognized the Lord.
At the last defining moments of Jesus’ life, he stood before the Sanhedrin (the ruling body of the Jewish people at that time) to be falsely condemned and put to death. During those agonizing moments, the second person in command, Peter, who, in the absence of Jesus, was in charge of the disciples and the whole Christian movement, was found denying that he had ever known Jesus to individuals who questioned him about his affiliation to Jesus Christ. This came as no surprise to Jesus, for he knew the weaknesses and fears that Peter struggles with. Despite this, Christ saw the great potential that Peter had in his contribution toward the leadership of the early Church. This was demonstrated when Christ asked Peter if he loved him three times, an obvious repercussion for Peter’s denial of Christ.
In the Gospel Reading today (on the first Sunday after New Sunday) the Disciples of Christ go fishing; but their attempt came up empty. They didn’t catch any fish, not even one. In the morning, the resurrected Christ appears on the shores of the sea. Christ instructs his disciples to go fishing. They step into the boat and cast their nets on the right side of the boat. This time, they catch an abundant amount of fish and the net did not burst. When the disciples bring their catch to shore, Jesus had already prepared hot coals and on it fish and bread. The fish and bread, here, are practical, in that it was prepared for the sustenance of the disciples. Additionally, there is a symbolic meaning. First, fish represents the “kingdom of God” and how many will be brought in by way of the Gospel message. In the early church, the symbol of Christianity was a fish. Secondly, the bread represents “eternal life,” that is, salvation, hence, the use of bread by Christ as his real body.
As to believe carelessly and in a random way, comes of an over-easy temper; so to be beyond measure curious and meddlesome, marks a most gross understanding. On this account Thomas is held to blame. For he believed not the Apostles when they said, We have seen the Lord; not so much mistrusting them, as deeming the thing to be impossible, that is to say, the resurrection from the dead. Since he says not, I do not believe you, but, Except I put my hand — I do not believe. But how was it, that when all were collected together, he alone was absent? Probably after the dispersion which had lately taken place, he had not returned even then. But do thou, when you see the unbelief of the disciple, consider the loving kindness of the Lord, how for the sake of a single soul He showed Himself with His wounds, and comes in order to save even the one, though he was grosser than the rest; on which account indeed he sought proof from the grossest of the senses, and would not even trust his eyes. For he said not, Except I see, but, Except I handle, he says, lest what he saw might somehow be an apparition. Yet the disciples who told him these things, were at the time worthy of credit, and so was He that promised; yet, since he desired more, Christ did not deprive him even of this.