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July 28, 2019

Homily on the Sixth Eothinon Gospel - Luke 24:36-53

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Today's Eothinon Gospel is a continuation of the events that took place last Sunday, as we heard. That is, the two disciples, who were going to Emmaus and recognized the Risen Christ, hastened to the other disciples and informed them of all that took place. And at that time, Christ Himself appeared in their midst, without them expecting it. Therefore, in today's Gospel we hear about the appearance of the Risen Christ to His disciples, as well as His Ascension into the heavens. These are two great events of importance for the whole world.

In His appearance to His disciples described today we can highlight three points.

One is that the disciples were surprised by the unannounced appearance of Christ. They saw Him in their midst, without any procedure, which is why they believed him to be a ghost, which frightened them. Christ calmed them down by granting them His peace. This was an amazing and new experience for them and it was natural and human for them to be frightened.

When we say that Christ resurrected we mean that Christ as God resurrected human nature, the body which He received from His All-Holy Mother. Therefore, we have a resurrection of the body, for neither God died, nor did the soul of Christ die. Yet the Body of the Risen Christ was different from His body before He resurrected. It was the same body, but without the so-called natural blameless passions. Christ urged them to touch Him, which signifies that it was the same body, without the properties of corruption and death. Because the disciples once again doubted, Christ asked them for some food to show them He had an actual body, but without the properties of corruption and death. Of course, the body of Christ had no need for food, but Christ ate, according to condescension and economia, in order to bring them to belief. And the Fathers say that the food He ate did not enter His digestive system which He did not have, but it was consumed by His divinity. Christ only did this for the disciples to believe that He was not a ghost.

This is an example of how our bodies will be after they are resurrected, which will take place at the Second Coming of Christ. Souls will enter back into bodies, which they had been separated from at death, and all the bodies will resurrect and will be different. All those bodies which in this life also possessed the energy of the Holy Spirit, will shine and radiate.

The second point is that Christ developed that which the prophets in the Old Testament said, and He reminded them of those things He told His disciples as long as He lived with them, before His Crucifixion. Then the Lord enlightened their minds that they may understand the Scriptures.

This means that we must read Holy Scripture and the patristic writings. In this way God will bless and enlighten our minds to enter the deeper meaning of what we read and hear. Reason can understand things externally, but an enlightened mind has another sense and gives another interpretation. The interpretation of Holy Scripture is not a matter for smart people, but for people who have the All-Holy Spirit within them.

And the third point is that Christ gave them a command to become witnesses of the Resurrection, as well He assured them they would receive the All-Holy Spirit and with His power they would convey the message of the Resurrection of Christ to the entire world.

The Saints through the ages are witnesses of the Resurrection of Christ, since they saw the Risen Christ, they recognized Him, joined themselves to Him, and with the power of the Holy Spirit they became witnesses of His Resurrection. To this category belongs Saint Paraskevi whom we recently celebrated, along with Saint Panteleimon. May we have their intercessions to personally experience these events and become witnesses of the Resurrection of Christ.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.