by Paul McGowan, Pax Christi UK
A Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Easter…
The disciples are sharing their stories about the risen Lord. There is a general hubbub, and it is not clear who is listening to whom, if anyone is. Into this atmosphere, the Lord steps and announces ‘Peace’. Naturally, this causes great alarm, terror even. This is not unfamiliar to us. Anyone who announces peace will find it does not go down that well. A politician who insists that war is not the way or that innocent blood will not be spilled will find that alarm and fear predominates, even among those who maintain that peace really is what they want.
To try to calm the general outbreak of anxiety, Jesus gets the disciples to look and see. The truth is physical, something to be touched and known, made up of hands, feet, flesh and bones. Then he gets them to pay attention to the marks of suffering in this body. It is not what it was, not in pristine condition, but they know how the marks got there, they know how this happened, and maybe they even know why it happened.
Doubts linger, so Jesus tries another angle. There are some basic human needs. Jesus demonstrates one of them before their eyes. He eats the fish. It’s not a slap-up meal, but it’s good for you, and it’s good to share what you have, and for some of you, remember, this is why I chose you, you fishermen.
And at last Jesus is able to move to the Scriptures. This realisation of Peace, this physical reality, this battered body, these basic needs met, it is all there to be retrieved from the sources, just as we discussed so many times before, on the road to Jerusalem. The hard knocks are inevitable, it seems, but so is the rising. Now, remember all this when you go to places I have never been.
Paul is a member of the Pax Christi Executive Committee and the Coventry Justice and Peace Group. You can read all of Pax Christi UK’s post-Easter Sunday reflections here.