Third Sunday of Easter

I often refer to the first reading on Sundays as the OT reading. Today, again, it’s from Acts, which is in the NT, of course. So I’m going to have to stop referring to it as OT. Maybe 1R? Let’s give it a try.

The 1R is from Acts, Peter speaking. Amazingly, he says of Jesus, you handed him over and denied him. You! As if Peter himself had not famously denied Christ three times. The nerve of this guy!

Okay, I’m being a bit cheeky here. And I appreciate Peter articulating the theology that Christ died for all of us, for our sins, Peter’s included. But his phrasing here is all in the second person, not first or first plural even. So he’s right, but he’s not being especially nice about it.

The 2R is from John, who starts out with some second person, but then moves to first plural, and then ends in the third. So he’s all over the map. But again with the same thing: “He is expiation for our sins.”

The Gospel is from St. Luke, apparently just after the breaking of the bread at Emmaus. I love the Caravaggio depiction, with the disciple on the left leaping up from his chair and the disciple on the right with his hands flung out in shock and wonder. And then in today’s reading, the two disciples are back with the rest, describing what’s happened when Christ again appears in their midst. And then, what’s now got to be one of my favorite lines in all of Scripture, the risen Lord, having gone through the Passion and having risen from the dead, asks:

Have you anything here to eat?

And so they give him a piece of baked fish, and he eats it. How awesome is that? In the one sense, he’s proving to the disciples, and to us, that he really has come back from the dead. A ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones, he tells them. Ghosts don’t eat. On the other hand, it’s just so great a little human drama moment, a little slice of life. Just sets the scene so well for me, like when St. John’s Gospel mentions the time of day or has Jesus doodle in the dirt.

Then Christ opens their minds to understand the Scriptures. So I guess that’s why Peter can be so bold then, later in Acts, like we heard earlier. He has seen and believed and had this mind opening, and will later receive the Holy Spirit at Pentacost. So I guess I can forgive him his nerve.

3 thoughts on “Third Sunday of Easter

  1. Photo Credit:

    The painting is Caravaggio’s Supper at Emmaus, 1601-02, 195 by 139 cm. National Gallery, London. The photo I got from Wikepedia, where it is claimed that the painting iteself, being from four-hundred years ago, is clearly in the public domain. Furthermore, under Bridgeman, the photo is therefore also in the public domain.

  2. When the risen Lord asks for something to eat, I wanted to write, but then chickened out:

    Dude’s just come back from the dead, so he’s naturally hungry. Given him some fish, why dontcha.

  3. I suppose I’ve always been a doubting Thomas, but I can’t imagine how exciting it must have been to see Jesus again, following his crucifixion.

    My friend Jarratt died in September 1991, and for a while there I was always afraid that I’d see him again. I was living in the basement at my parents’ house then, and used to stay up late at night when the house was very quiet. For some reason I was particularly afraid that he’d be out in the darkness, and would peer in the windows.

    One day I shared this fear with my friend, Shannon. She said, “I’d love to see him!” Funny, I hadn’t thought of it that way. What is there to fear? He was my friend before, so why would he be different now? Now I wish I could see him again.

    That goofy host of the Actor’s Studio show always asks his guests the same set of questions at the end of each program. The one that appeals to me most is, “If there is a Heaven, what would you like to hear St. Peter say?” I know what my answer would be. “Welcome. Your mom and Babe Ruth are waiting for you over at table 3.” (This being Heaven, they would have already ordered me a cold IBC root beer.)

    In the meantime, come back and visit, Mom. Come back, Jarratt. And come back, Jesus. Not as some goofy stain on a concrete wall that some person has hung a frame around. I mean, really. Stop in at the poker tournament. Meet me at Anita’s in Vienna. I’ll treat. Man, that would be so cool. I sure would have loved to be one of the lucky ones who witnessed a miracle or two.

    Then again, if Jesus did come back and performed a few, do you think that today’s Western society would still be jaded? Would they think of him as an imposter? I can hear it now: “He’s good, but I saw that David Blaine guy’s magic DVD, and HE’S amazing.”

    That’s another thing. As you well know, I have some dreams that are really far-out. I’m wondering just how far-out Joseph’s dreams must have been, or for that matter, those of anyone in the Bible, for them to have acted on them. Were they that different? I suppose that’s a topic for another day.

Comments are closed.