It is so hard to believe because it is so hard to obey. --Soren Kierkegaard
Gospel text (Lk 24,35-48):
The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way,
and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread.
While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
"Peace be with you."
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, "Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have."
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, "Have you anything here to eat?"
They gave him a piece of baked fish;
he took it and ate it in front of them.
He said to them,
"These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of Moses
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled."
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them,
"Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things."
When the apostles saw the risen Christ on the evening of His Resurrection, "they thought they were seeing a ghost" (Lk 24:37). Jesus tried to prove He was real by showing them His hands and feet, inviting them to touch Him, and eating a piece of fish (Lk 24:39-43). Nonetheless, the risen Christ didn't seem real enough to cause them to overcome their fears and change their lives.
We too have difficulties getting in touch with the reality of the risen Christ because in many ways our society does not like to face reality. For instance, millions deny the reality that pregnant women have babies in their wombs. They choose to pretend the baby is not a human being. Our current culture seems to be one long series of attempts to escape from reality by using excessive alcohol, drugs, TV, i-pods, pornography, promiscuity, video games, computer games, mind-games, etc. We even have entertainment called "virtual reality," whereby one can create their own "reality." Denial, in the psychological sense of the word, permeates our society. We deny the existence of objective truth, sin, and responsibility for our actions. Many pretend that they'll live forever and never face God, who will hold us accountable for all of our words and actions.
In a world so out of touch with reality, it's understandable that the risen Christ may seem a ghost. The risen Jesus is definitely real, but are we? Have we consigned ourselves to a ghostly existence of selfishness, self-deception, and sin? When our culture "gets real," then maybe the status quo will find out that Jesus has always been real.
Our faith is "the substance of things hoped for" (Heb 11:1); it does not believe in ghosts. Keep your eyes open! Jesus' resurrection must not be for us a ghostly abstraction from the past, but the very flesh and bones of our everyday life.