Just a word… Third Sunday of Easter…
Just a word… Third Sunday of Easter… April 18, 2021
Many years ago, there was a television series entitled, “Thirty-something.” The episode I remember best revolved around a dinner table where the two couples who were the focus of the show were enjoying a meal. The camera concentrated on each of the four persons in turn and depicted what each saw and heard. At the end of the show there was a scene where the entire dinner conversation was viewed as from above, supposedly portraying what actually happened. The amazing conclusion was that each participant had seen and heard from their own perspective, resulting in four completely different versions of the evening.
We each hear and see through our particular lens, one which is dependent upon our family of origin, our socio-economic status, our education, our life experience, and so on. We are influenced by where we live, who our friends are, what stations we watch and what newspapers we read. With all that difference in how we think and the ways in which we interpret reality, it is truly amazing that we all gather here in agreement that the Resurrection of Jesus is the most profound of mysteries, and the event that brings us comfort and hope for our own future.
Consider that the disciples gathered in that locked room must have each had their particular emotional reactions to Jesus’ death, and to his appearance among them. The Gospel says they were startled and terrified to see Jesus. Remember that they had abandoned him in his darkest hour; that Peter had denied knowing him three times; and imagine that they couldn’t look Jesus in the eye as he made his way to Calvary. But what does Jesus do? He offers them peace as his greeting. That offering of peace contained within it a granting of forgiveness to those who in their panic and fright thought they were seeing a ghost; and to those who were embarrassed or guilty at having be- trayed their relationship with Jesus. The risen Lord takes all that fear, guilt and embarrassment and replaces it with an experience of forgiveness and peace that despite all their different interpretive lenses, they could all understand. And he does it, not as a dis- embodied spirit, but recognizably as himself, in his own body, albeit transformed, proving his embodiment by asking for something to eat, and consuming the proffered fish in their sight. Having thus proved the rebuilding of the temple of his body in three days, Jesus opens their minds to the meaning of the Scriptures.
This Gospel reminds us that the offering of peace and reconciliation extended to those disciples, applies to us as well. That offering is not without cost, however; as with the original disciples, we are invited to transcend our differences, to open our minds to the meaning of the Scriptures, and then commissioned to proclaim the Good News in our words and our actions, in other words, through our bodies. In doing so, we honor the One who used his body, through birth, death and Resurrection, to redeem our own.