Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Third Time’s The Charm

Fr. Dale Matson

            As I read Sunday’s Gospel lesson for Easter III, I came to a new awareness of the post resurrection appearances of Christ. This was now the third time He had shown himself to the disciples following His resurrection. On the two previous occasions about a week apart, they were in a locked room and He simply passed through the door. The disciples had been gathering behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jews.  When Jesus appeared to them in the room, He told them to be at peace.  St. Luke noted in his account that the disciples were terrified because they thought they were seeing a ghost.  Jesus ate a fish to show them He was not a ghost. He showed them His wounds and breathed the Holy Spirit on them.  After breathing on them He commissioned them as he had commissioned Peter following Peter’s confession.   Yet even after all of this, where were they one week later?  They were still meeting behind locked doors.  They were still afraid.  And they were still not sure who this man in their midst was. 
            In His third appearance to the disciples (John 21:1-14), they were still not proclaiming the message. It was back to business as usual. They went fishing. They had been fishing all night not far from shore, (less than 100 yards) and not doing very well. Once again they were not sure who it was until He gave them another miraculous sign. Jesus already had fish and bread on hand and a fire to cook them on. It was another multiplication miracle. It was an abundance of fish, some of which were later added to the meal. John recognized Jesus but Peter, being Peter and full of zeal, jumped out of the boat to great Him. At this point all the disciples were almost certain that it was Jesus so they refrained from asking Him who He was. “Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.”
            What element is common to these post resurrection accounts? When did Clopas and his associate finally recognize the resurrected Jesus along the road to Emmaus? It was after He had revealed Himself in the Word and in the breaking of bread. How are all these stories connected? The reality of His humanity is in table fellowship. It is in the breaking of the bread and the passing of the cup. The miracle is not that God arose from the dead. The miracle is that a man rose from the dead. In so doing, mortal flesh took on immortality.  He summons us to sup with Him often. It is first an act of obedience and second an act of faith. He tells us to do it until He returns. It is in this table fellowship that He reveals Himself. He is in our midst. He is among us. He is in us and we are in Him. He is in the bread and He is in the wine set before us. Reveal yourself to us Lord. Amen

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