Third Sunday of Easter
A Homily - Cycle B - 2011-2012
by Fr. Luke Dundon
First Reading - Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9
Second Reading - 1 John 2:1-5a
Gospel - Luke 24:35-48
Written to explain that
Christ came to save everyone.
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 and 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."
What makes the Good News so Good? Because it involves FOOD! I really do think so, food seems to accompany powerful encounters with Jesus . . . for example, He multiplies the loaves and the fishes, and they want to carry Him off and make him king He breaks bread with two disciples, and they immediately recognize Him IN the breaking of the bread. Today, He suddenly appears among them, seeming like a ghost. This amazing event of the Resurrection is almost other-worldly. People 200 years ago, just as WE WOULD today, never expected a person to come back from the dead! And yet, he’s not just a ghost, but a man in his soul AND his body. His flesh and blood, the same flesh and blood that hung on a cross and now has nail marks, that flesh and blood IS BACK! And He proves it, by asking to eat with them. Eating together, one of the most human needs, on so many levels . . .
I once saw Pope Benedict XVI on Italian television, he was eating dinner in the Vatican. Turns out he was enjoying on of his favorite drinks, orange soda, Fanta to be exact. Amazing! He’s HUMAN! I recently visited my brother, a FOCUS missionary in New Jersey, and my sister, the midshipman at the Naval Academy. Both times, I shared a meal with them, had coffee together, it’s almost instinctive; it’s a source of unity and bonding. Jesus knows this well, and so he brings PEACE to his brethren with the GOOD NEWS . . . of Food! Fish is on the menu!
Now, we all know, eating together is NOT something done by enemies. FRIENDS, BROTHERS, FAMILY do this together. And Jesus did this with his twelve. EVEN after being betrayed. EVEN after being denied three times. EVEN after they ran away from him. Folks like Peter should be feeling pretty guilty. AND YET, Peter speaks with boldness in the first reading today. He shouts to his fellow Jews, “You denied the Holy and Righteous One!” Tough words! And yet, Peter did so himself! He also tells his brethren, “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.” Peter experienced this as well, he experienced reconciliation with Jesus. I did something horrible, Peter could admit it, but Jesus still came back for me, He still offered me another chance, and He PROVED it! He sat and ate with me again!! I’ve shared a meal with my compassionate Lord, and THAT has made all the difference!
I think that a book needs to be written on the theology of the kitchen. People can powerfully encounter the Lord in the company kept while preparing and sharing a meal. The rectory has many rooms, many corridors, nooks and crannies one could steal away, but the most activity, the greatest amount of conversation, and frankly the most laughter always emanates from the kitchen. Where we rejoice over people who have come into the Church at Easter Vigil. Where we can talk about our families and friends. Where we can seek advice over difficult situations. So many good things, in the context of Food! A good reminder for us today, how important it is for each of us, to make time each week to share meals together, as a family, as loved ones, for indeed, I daresay that God Himself will be present as well. And THAT means, even if we have tensions or disagreements or strife with another, there is the possibility of RECONCILIATION . . . . At the dinner table . . . in the kitchen . . . because our Risen Lord will be there as well, He understands the importance of our shared meals, and He certainly is at the meal we’re about to partake in, It IS the meal Himself, at this Supper of the Lamb. Let’s . . . invite Him into the other meals we’ll have today, for THEN we’ll realize how amazing a gift FOOD really is, for in eating together, we share in our humanity, we reconcile our differences, and most importantly, we are led to the man who has conquered sin and death, and gives us the food of his body and blood. THAT’S what I call Good News!