3rd Sunday of Easter Lectio Divina April 18 2021
By David Kilby
The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them. He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread
Do I know Jesus? When we go to Communion, this ought to be the question running through our mind. Otherwise we’re just lining up in a long line to receive at best an abstract idea of God in the form of bread. But, even though it is in the form of bread, the Eucharist is Jesus. Do we know the person, though? Are we aware that we go to receive him into our bodies so we may be in communion with his body? We can acknowledge what the Church teaches and even believe it while believing in God’s supernatural power, but a relationship with Jesus takes receiving Jesus to a whole new level. This is the experience the disciples are having. They are coming to know Jesus through the Eucharist. We can too.
“Have you anything here to eat?”
Jesus’ question is interesting since it implies that his resurrected body can still at least receive some kind of nourishment. Can he grow hungry even now? Perhaps he simply wanted to demonstrate to the disciples how real he truly was, that he was not a ghost. Nonetheless, his revelation points to a fascinating reality regarding the conditions we may live under once we rise again from the dead in our new life in Christ. This isn’t science fiction. Christ is the way to eternal life, and he is proving it while showing us what that life will look like. When he was taken up into heaven at the Ascension, he went to prepare a place for us. The life of this resurrected body, the one that asked for something to eat, never died. He left the earth so we could receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and so we could all be a part of his body through Communion. Wonder at the mystery of this new life that Christ invites us to. Will we hunger and thirst once we rise again with Christ one day? Probably not like we do in our mortal bodies, but we can imagine that God will not take away anything good, and food is good. That is why the Church encourages us to feast during the Easter season. It is a time of year to celebrate in hope of what God has prepared for us in heaven.
“Why do questions arise in your hearts?”
Don’t we know that God will stay true to his promises? Do I believe it? Often it is very difficult. This Gospel passage is a clear and rare glimpse into the mystery of the faith that speaks to our eternal destiny. What are we here for? Philosophers and children alike ask the question. ‘Do you still have these questions’ Jesus seems to be asking. ‘Do you not now know? Do you still not know what your mission is and why I made you? It is to proclaim repentance and the forgiveness of sins to all the nations.’
“repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations”
Even after rising from the dead and appearing to his disciples in resurrected form, Christ is still preaching repentance and the forgiveness of sins. It shows how central these things are to the gospel message. It could easily be lost on the disciples while they stand in the presence of the resurrected Lord. Transformation is impossible without humility. We have to admit that we are wrong in order to inherit eternal life. We have to confess that our way of doing things just isn’t going to get the job done. In fact, only God can save us, and so we are going to have to be humble before he can offer that salvation.
“You are witnesses of these things.”
What a privilege it must have been to witness Christ risen from the dead, and to witness all the miracles, preaching, and ministry of Jesus. We also are Christ’s witnesses, though. How has he worked in my life and in yours to bring us closer to the truth? For those who don’t know Jesus, the concept of being his witnesses today may seem abstract. But for those who have encountered the Truth, Love, or the miracles and wonders of Life, know that the particular qualities of these things point to the fact that he is indeed a person who can be met through these things. We may not have witnessed Jesus Christ walking in the flesh on earth, but I’m sure many of us can say that we have witnessed things he has done in our lives nonetheless.
Dear God, you are life. You are reality. Teach us to be humble and to accept that in the end we will come face to face with you, and acknowledge you as Lord. We pray that on that day we will rejoice in that truth rather than dread it. We are here to do your will. Please help us to accomplish that so we may participate in your resurrected life this Easter season.
The risen Lord came to speak to the apostles, and he comes to speak to you now. Just as the flowers and trees spring to new life by simply being open to water and sunlight, let’s bask in the new life Christ offers us through the sacraments.
Kilby is a freelance writer from New Jersey and managing editor of Catholic World Report.
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