A Catholic Monthly Magazine

After the Resurrection in Stained Glass

Glen McCullough

Luke tell us that on the same day that Jesus rose, He appeared to walk with Cleopas and another disciple on the road to Emmaus. This window [1] from St Genes-des-Carnes, Clermont-Ferand, France shows what the encounter might have been like. When they arrived at the entrance to Emmaus, the disciples invited the stranger to join them for a meal, and it was “at the breaking of the bread” that they recognised Him. The window over the page [2] from Monastere Royal de Brou, Bourg-en-Bresse, France shows the moment of recognition. The disciple on the right is acting out the words “Were not our hearts burning within us?” The gospel passage reminds me of the times I have recognised Jesus acting in my life only in hindsight. How about you?




Next, Jesus appeared to the disciples in the upper room. Thomas wasn’t there, and doubted the others - so we call him Doubting Thomas. Eight days later, Jesus appeared in the upper room again, and we all know how Jesus convinced Thomas. This window [3] from the private chapel at Mt Peel Station, South Canterbury shows the scene, particularly the smug “I told you so” look on the faces of the other disciples. 


But the best one [4] is in Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver BC showing a very abject Thomas saying “My Lord and My God.” The whole incident has so many points to make - doubting, smugness, spiritual blindness, regret, reconciliation that it is no wonder I dwell on it year after year.  How about you?

After this, the disciples went to Galilee to await Jesus, as He told them to. Jesus appeared to some of them after an unsuccessful night’s fishing. John recounts the  incident in three parts: Jesus told them to put out their nets, which became overloaded as shown in this window [5] from Holy Sepulchre Church, Grafton, Auckland. Then he cooked them some fish, when they all recognised Jesus. Finally, he asked Peter “do you love me?” three times and reinstated Peter by telling him to “feed my sheep.” One window [6] from Old St Paul’s, Wellington shows the scene, including the fish cooking on the fire. 




But to my mind the window  [7] from All Souls, Leichardt, Sydney shows Peter’s response beautifully. Have you told Jesus you love Him today?


Finally, according to Matthew 28:19, Jesus gave the disciples the ‘great commission,’ as shown in this window [8] from Sacred Heart Church, Mosman, Sydney, before He ascended to heaven. 


I have seen many magnificent windows picturing the ascension. The one on the left [9] is a smaller example from the deconsecrated Mission Cove Church on the Otago Peninsula near Dunedin. 

But the one [10] in St Andrew’s Church, Vancouver BC really spoke to me the most. The disciples are looking upwards, bereft and lost without Jesus. Then came Pentecost and they were no longer bereft and lost, but full of the Holy Spirit. As I hope you are today.   




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