Homily for Easter Thursday
Sr Anne Morris, DHS
Have you anything here to eat? Lk:24
In the days following his resurrection, Jesus spends a good deal of time trying to prove to different groups of people and individuals that he is alive, or rather that he is resurrected after the terrible trauma of the crucifixion. It’s entirely understandable, from a human point of view, that having witnessed his suffering and death, they’re in a state of shock and grief that makes it hard for them to believe. The except we’ve just listened to follows on from the road to Emmaus. Cleopas and his companion on the road (perhaps his wife Mary of Cleopas who had stood at the foot of the cross), had just arrived and were telling the disciples of what had happened. They were still talking about this when Jesus himself stands among them.
I think most of us in the same position would understand the reaction of alarm and fright. In order to convince them that he is real, Jesus asks, in what has to be one of the mostly homely of gestures, if they had anything they could give him to eat. The Son of God, the resurrected Lord, has to go to some fairly extreme measures to prove himself. It borders on the comic! One can imagine him saying “I’ve been through all this and I have to eat fish to prove myself, but if that what it takes, then eat fish I will.” It reminds me of the beginning of Luke’s Gospel and the call of the first four fishermen. Jesus had been preaching from one of the boats, and one can imagine that at one level, it’s gone in one ear and out the other. The kind of reaction you get to a talk, when someone says ‘that was lovely but it was beyond me.’ I imagine Jesus thinking ‘Right, if I’m to make any impression with this lot it’ll have to be fish.’ And fish they get, such a huge catch of fish that it nearly sinks the boat. Jesus always seeks the common ground that will get the message across. You might ask yourself the question, if the Lord was coming to you today, how would he communicate? Through football? Hurling? Gardening? Golf? Can you imagine him engaging with you in these everyday interests and finding the common ground with you?
Whether it’s shoals of fish or overflowing baskets of bread, Jesus will do all he can to show his disciples who he is. With this frightened little group, he takes them through exactly the same explanation he gave to Cleopas and companion on the road to Emmaus. ‘He opened their minds to understand the scriptures … and the prophesy that on the third day the Christ would rise again.’ Like a patient teacher, he goes over once again the lessons he had taught them earlier during his public ministry, the meaning of which they obviously had not grasped at the time. Now, in the light of the resurrection, he explains how he had truly fulfilled the aspirations of Israel, even though he had fulfilled them in a way that the people could never have imagined. Now, through the very simple human acts of breaking bread and eating fish, he opens their inner eyes, enabling them to see that it really is he.
As we begin this new stage of the Chapter is there anything that your mind needs opening up to? We too get so caught up in the details of everyday life that we fail to recognise the risen Lord in our midst. Still, who has not experienced a deep longing for that recognition? Who does not hope to hear the simple words of loving familiarity: “Have your anything here to eat?” “Could you give me a cup of tea?”