“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…. 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.” (Lk 24: 36-37; 41-43)
The first gift given to the Apostles was peace: “Peace be with you.” It is interesting that He came to them with this gift when “they were still speaking about this.” “This” means His death and resurrection–they were sharing the Good News and contemplating Our Lord’s word and His teaching. It is so important in our lives to be in love with God’s word. In the first reading, we read how Our Lord’s own nation didn’t recognize Him. “You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.” It could happen in our lives also, like when you started your practice as young doctors, and you were assured that what you do is a part of your profession, that you help people. Now you know. “Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did.”
St. Jerome used to say: Ignoratio Scripturarum, ignoratio Christi est. (łac.) “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” His word will help us to understand and strongly believe that we are loved unconditionally. When we are confronting our lives with Him, with Holy Scripture, we will never lose our dignity—even if we are the worst sinners. “Because he clings to me, I will deliver him; because he knows my name, I will set him on high.” (PS 91)
I did not ask you to spend all day long reflecting on His words. I ask you to spend the same amount of time in front of His word as you spend in front of the mirror, to prepare yourself to look presentable after sleeping. A friend of mine reminded me about the instructions for hair mousse: 1. apply a small amount on wet hair, 2. dry with a hair dryer, 3. Now you are ready to go out and face other people. You need to look at His face to recognize that you are loved and that your value is not based on your performance, but on God’s love for you, and then you can go out and face other people. You can bring them just yourself, or you can bring them an unbelievable love emanating from your heart. When you are hungry for love, you will be concerned about where and how to use others to receive it; when you are loved and when you know how much you are blessed, you will look where and how to share and bestow it on others.
“They gave him a piece of baked fish.” I found in a reflection based on today’s Gospel (by Fr. Pelanowski) that fish, a creature hidden all the time, hidden in the bottom of the water, is a symbol of everything hidden in our hearts: our wounds, scars, rejections and abandonments. Whatever evil we experienced from others and whatever evil we did to others, we hide on the bottom of our hearts. When we give it to Him, He will “take it and eat it in front of them.” He will take it, like He took all our sins, and will bring us a new life. With Him we can go to the bottom of our hearts to present Him with our destructions and our ruins, and not to be afraid. “But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world” (we read in the second reading).
He doesn’t need any extra occasion for this. Every occasion is good for Him, like a meal: “Have you anything here to eat?” He didn’t ask: did you pray a lot?, did you fast? did you…? Nothing like this. Just simple, daily questions because He is with us in all our situations, He is not only at Sunday Mass; He is with us every day and everywhere. And He asks you to take with you His love and bring it to your homes and workplaces. To start again and again the new life and new service to the culture of love and life. With you this world can be totally different. So many miracles happened when you came here the first time, how many more will happen now?
“Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us; make our hearts burn while you speak to us.” (Gospel Acclamation)