Monday, 16 April 2012

Easter 3 2012 Luke 24 v35-48

Body positive! 

The women have seen Jesus but because they were women their resurrection appearance is discounted. Even today we find that woman are discounted as legal witnesses in many countries. Then he appeared to Cleopas and his friend on the road to Emmaus and showed them how he had fulfilled the law and the prophets. He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations(ethnos), beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses (marturio) of these things.

They go back to Jerusalem to find the disciples they were talking, gossiping about Cleopas and his friends story on the road to Emmaus. And Jesus appeared, through locked doors! Scary stuff! And he said “Peace be upon you-Salam Malaichim, Shalom” Peace be upon you and your household. that Shalom that encompasses all we could ever need, the peace that passes all understanding.

They thought that he was a ghost! So would I have done! And being forever perceptive he asks them why they are troubled! And some of them obviously thought-this cant be Jesus. So he asked them to touch him. You cant touch a ghost! Look at my hands and my feet. It is me myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And some of them still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, So we have a ghost with a gaping hole that you can feel. Or maybe it's just a story, a comfortable way of resolving grief, collective transference. So to answer their doubts he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

Have you ever doubted the existence of God? Many of at times have doubted. But  our experience of God turns doubt into faith. God comes to us at strange times and jolts us from doubt to faith. We will not have the experience that the disciples had of feeling the holes where Jesus was pierced but something else cuts through and we believe.

There are a number of resurrection stories. Jesus convinced the disciples he was alive, through convincing proofs, for 40 days after the resurrection.In all of them Jesus appears. In most of them he is initially not recognized(recognizing Jesus in others-Michael Taylor in the poor). In all of them he gives his peace and in all of them (except the garden tomb) the setting is in the context of eating. There are eucharistic overtones. There may be a profound truth here that Jesus is always potentially to be found as we eat together.

The problem is the body! First there is “no body”. The women at the tomb were grieving for the body which they thought had been taken. The missing body is the beginning of the end.

Then there is a somebody but he is not easily recognized as Jesus. Not by Mary, not by Cleopas, not by Thomas and not by the disciples.

But the body is of importance central to the tale. This is not any body it is the body!

This story is not about some ethereal resurrection, the Spirit going to God. It is about the whole person being resurrected. God is concerned about the whole of us, bodies as well. Lets think about this for a moment.

If God resurrected Jesus’ body then he will resurrect ours! How do you regard your body? Do you love it enough to take it with you to eternal life? Think about it. Do you love your body at all or regard it as baggage? We are encouraged to be spiritual, to pray  but also to present our bodies to God (Rom.12). Our bodies are not only a gift from God but to be used by God. But most of us hate our bodies. Try loving each part of your body, it could change your life!  

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