Pastor’s Daily Reflection – Easter Thursday: 4/16/20

Luke 24:35-48

35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

36 As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts?  39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them.

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations,[d] beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.

One of my fondest memories of youth was when I was 11or12 years old at my grandparent’s house in Tazewell.  I was in a kind of twilight sleep when I was about to wake up but had not yet opened my eyes.  Suddenly I became aware of the smell of country ham, gravy and biscuits wafting up to my room. In the kitchen was also an old “Majestic” flat top wood burning and the smell of oak was mingled with the aroma.  I didn’t need to open my eyes, for I knew where I was, a place where I would soon be at table with people who loved me beyond words. 

I wonder if Jesus recognized the aroma of the fish that was being cooked?  Not that he was hungry, because he only ate before them to emphasize how fully present he was at that moment. Jesus appeared all of a sudden when the doors were locked, which explains their surprised reaction. Saint Ambrose commented that, “He penetrated their closed retreat not only because his nature was incorporeal, but because he had the quality of a resurrected body. Subtlety is one of the qualities of a glorified body because it means that the body is subject to the soul and ever ready to obey its wishes”.   The result is that it can pass through material objects without difficulty. The scene showed Christ’s condescension to confirm the truth of his resurrection. Jesus’ risen body is incapable of suffering and therefore it has no need of food to nourish it. 

Also in this encounter, our Lord manifests himself in two ways: by eating with them and by inviting them to touch him. “They touched him and believed and were convinced that he was flesh and spirit.  After the resurrection he ate and drank with them like a man of flesh and blood who was spiritually one with them and with the father”. (Saint Ignatius of Antioch) As we eat with him, we also touch him:  Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, now and forever.