In today’s Gospel account, Jesus suddenly, inexplicably appears to the apostles. There is fear, amazement. They are at turns incredulous and terrified! And Jesus, with an amazingly calm demeanor, sets them at ease.
First He says, “Peace be with you.” Then He shows them His hands, feet, and side to prove the wounds are where they should be and so that they can touch them and know He is real and not a ghost. When that does not appear to be enough, Jesus asks for something to eat to prove He is alive and truly present in that room.
Such a kind, thoughtful and wise gesture. Jesus is so very patient. Most of us would become frustrated and impatient with the apostles for their behavior in that room. Not Jesus.
Even when they do not recognize Him, ever patient Jesus asks for something to eat. He is handed baked fish which I find so amusing. Not fried, not sushi, but “baked fish.” And Jesus eats it. A phantasm can’t pick up a piece of baked fish, or any other kind, and eat it…
But what this passage really has me contemplating is would I recognize Jesus in that situation, or in any? Do I recognize Jesus in my brothers and sisters? I pray that I will see Jesus in others. It’s something I was inspired to do before visiting a young Soldier in Walter Reed Medical Center a few years back. I was extremely anxious to meet him but felt, for various reasons to convoluted to go into here, that I should.
My husband was deployed at the time so I went alone and I prayed very intensely before heading to the hospital. I wanted to see Jesus in that young man so I would be at peace and would say only comforting things to him and to his dad who was by his side.
And I did see Jesus. I was peaceful, I was provided by the Holy Spirit, I feel sure, wonderful words of comfort and encouragement to share. His dad told me so. What an amazing young man that wounded Warrior was. And is to this day. He is still alive and not only alive but thriving, praise God!
I had to pray to see Jesus in that bed that day. I had to trust that God would provide me that vision. Of course He did. Let that be our prayer every day: to see Jesus in those we meet, even people we see every day. Even members of our own families! It’s Jesus we are speaking with, interacting with…assisting? Loving? I hope so. Sometimes in life it’s important to not just ask for others to see Jesus in me, although that’s great, too. I pray, “Let them see You in me, Jesus, especially the ones who aren’t looking for You!” What an amazing surprise for them!
But since that day in that hospital room, I’ve been inspired on more than one occasion to ask to see Jesus in others. The reverence with which you will speak to and deal with others will dramatically increase. The peace within your heart and soul will, too.
Let us pray that we will always recognize Jesus in our neighbor, friend, enemy, spouse, children, parent. Even before they eat a piece of baked fish…