Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday in the Octave of Easter

Good News Reflection
Thursday in the Octave of Easter
April 16, 2009

Today's Readings:
Acts 3:11-26
Ps 8:2ab, 5-9
Luke 24:35-48

Discovering who we really are

Today's Gospel reading makes a point of calling our attention to the physical nature of Jesus' resurrected body. Why is it important to know that Jesus could still eat? Or that people could feel his skin?

Christianity is the only religion that has a savior who is fully divine yet fully human like us. Until the birth of Jesus, the world was divided between heaven and earth, the eternal and the temporal. God could bridge the gap and touch us, but due to our sinfulness, we could not exceed the limitations of earth and touch him. Since Jesus was the only sinless human who was also divine, he became the bridge that united heaven and earth.

Today, we don't have the opportunity to touch his hands and dine on fish with him like the first disciples did, and so we easily forget just how human Jesus continues to be and will always be throughout eternity. As a human, he was the first physical person to reach heaven. As a human, he comes for us when we die. As God, he embraces all those who want to be united to him eternally and takes them to heaven. Jesus leads the way — physically as well as spiritually.

Eventually, we'll all have "glorified" (i.e., eternal) flesh-bodies like the one Jesus told the disciples to touch. We won't be bodiless spirits floating around. We'll be able to eat fish and double-chocolate fudge brownies (without getting fat of course). I suppose that those who enjoy baking here on earth will be able to continue this scrumptious ministry in heaven, and the rest of us will partake of their goodies! Okay, okay, don't take my food-filled description of heaven too literally; the earthly mind cannot begin to know what heaven will really be like, and I'm only using my limited understanding to explain what I can't really explain.

Are there any wounds in heaven? Yes — the wounds of Jesus. He showed them to the disciples, so we know he's still got them. Will we take our wounds into heaven? No — by his wounds we are totally healed! This would not have been possible if God had not become one of us.

There's a bad excuse we sometimes use when we sin: "Oh well, I'm only human." Only what? Being human means being like Jesus! If we've been baptized, we've been raised up into his humanity and his divinity. Therefore, when we sin, it would be more accurate to say: "Oops, I forgot to be human like Jesus."

Our flesh-nature has been redeemed, but in its weaknesses we often succumb to an animalistic sub-human nature. Or we give ourselves up to non-human demonic influences. Either way, it's not who we really are. Jesus made a big deal about the physical nature of his resurrected body so that we could discover who we really are.

© 2009 by Terry A. Modica
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