The Resurrection happened, for sure… but what do we actually know about it based on Jesus’ appearances to his followers? Today’s Gospel teaches us three distinct lessons.
First… Jesus encounters two of his disciples who are “startled”, “terrified” and “troubled”. Of course they were, given all they had been through over the past few days. Jesus said: “Peace be with you”, a line he repeated often during his appearances. He knew they were afraid, perhaps ashamed that they had abandoned and even in Peter’s case denied him in the end, in his hour of greatest need. And they were a fractured, scattered group. Jesus offered peace, forgiveness. And then he instructed them to tell the others, to get back together. Jesus offered peace, forgiveness and reconnection with each other.
Second, he asked them: “Have you anything here to eat?” This is something friends say to friends. Eating suggests closeness, it marks a bond. None of us would walk up to people we don’t know very well and ask them for food. Jesus is suggesting that this is the one who they all already know, that they are close, that they are friends.
And finally, he ate the baked fish in front of them. There is evidence of this having happened, namely the bones and scraps left uneaten. And apparitions, dreams and ghosts don’t need to eat. Real people need to eat. Jesus was there, with them, now… in this moment. And real.
We are post-Easter and we need to learn from these lessons.
First, whatever we have done, wherever we stand… Jesus offers us peace and forgiveness. He desires this for us.
Second, this is the Jesus we know. We have scripture, the teachings of our Church, and we have our own personal relationship with him to draw from. The Risen Lord is not some faraway concept… he is near and he wants us to know him.
And third, he is here, now. During Mass, we celebrate his real presence… Together.
Let us live out the Easter season… for the rest of our lives. Filled with peace, in relationship with Jesus and let’s act confidently that Jesus walks with us. He is right here with us in fact.