Summary: The Bible tells us that when Jesus returns to earth, he will physically raise all those who have died, giving them back the bodies they lost at death.
The Gospel today makes us ask ourselves one fundamental question, an essential question in the Easter Season: how would you react if Jesus appeared to you?
Would you recognize him? In the First Reading, Saint Peter tells the Jews that they didn’t recognize the author of life, their Redeemer, and handed him over to suffer and die.
In our Gospel passage, the disciples did not recognize Jesus either.
This reminded me of a corny joke I heard, a guy says, “THIS GIRL SAID SHE RECOGNIZED ME FROM THE VEGETARIAN CLUB, BUT I'D NEVER MET HERBIVORE.”
The theme in our Readings today introduces the nature of the glorified body.
Scripture tells us that when Jesus returns to earth, he will physically raise all those who have died, giving them back the bodies they lost at death.
These will be the same bodies people had in earthly life—but our resurrection bodies will not die and, for the righteous, they will be transformed into a glorified state, freed from suffering and pain, and enabled to do many of the amazing things Jesus could do with his glorified body (cf. 1 Cor. 15:35–44, 1 John 3:2).
The Catechism reiterates this long-defined teaching, stating, "‘We believe in the true resurrection of this flesh that we now possess.”
For those who die in the state of grace (saved), their resurrected body may not immediately be recognizable to friends and loved ones. At the resurrection of a body to glory, like our Gospel today demonstrates, it will be certainly too wonderful to be true, but it is! Joy and amazement once we recognized somebody in a gloried body, and God-willing, our own!
But it’s important to note that once the disciples recognize Jesus their fear disappears.
In the Gospels, like today’s, whenever Jesus asks questions like, "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?” imply that if we really grasped the situation, we would not feel troubled!
Also, it is often in community that we as Christians are strengthened. The risen Christ breaks bread in Emmaus and then eats fish in Jerusalem, with others. Apparently comfort food back then was baked tilapia.
The Bible says that they gave him a piece of baked fish ready eat: you might think that they were just about to have lunch, but a bible scholar noted that this fish was leftovers from their already eaten lunch!
The message is that if our hearts are open, now that we realize that Jesus is alive, as our First Reading teaches, we don’t have to deny our personal history and sins and omissions because as we locate our new life on the death and resurrection of Jesus, we can acquire those virtues of humility and courage that are necessary to make “my life my own.”
This pattern of looking different in the past, at least spiritually, than the way we are now, is the goal; after all, we want to grow in holiness.
This week, Pope Francis has issued an apostolic exhortation on holiness in today’s world, in which he emphasizes the universal call to sanctity, highlights the pitfalls to achieving it, and recalls that the Christian life is one of constant battle against the devil and the forces of evil.
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said,
“When we hear of the holiness of some people, our first reaction is: I knew her when...Betweens the “then” and the “now” has intervened a battle in which selfishness lost and faith won out.”