The Resurrected Body
In today’s gospel about the disciples on the way to Emmaus, Jesus walks and talks with two disciples, but they fail to recognize him until the “breaking of the bread.” In other resurrection stories, Jesus is also not immediately recognized. The story on Easter morning when Mary of Magdala thinks he is the gardener, until he speaks her name (John 20:15-16). When Jesus appeared to several disciples at the sea of Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) they did not recognize him until he suggested casting their net to the right side of the boat and they catch a huge number of fish (John 21:6). To me these stories suggest that Jesus’ physical appearance has changed. Perhaps that is what will happen at the resurrection. We profess belief in the resurrection of the body, but what body will we have? An older person may want a younger body and a disabled person may want a whole body. But how will the person be recognized by those who knew them only as an older person or as a disabled person. After his resurrection, Jesus had a human body, one that wasn’t recognized as the body he inhabited during his 33 years on earth, but a human body. What opened the eyes of the disciples was not the physical body. Jesus broke the bread in today’s gospel, spoke Mary’s name and did a miracle in the other stories. It appears that Jesus is recognized by what he does more than what he looks like. Perhaps this is a glimpse of what lies ahead in the resurrection — perfect bodies and recognition of one another through character traits, through voice and through affection.
As we continue our faith journey during these “stay-at-home” times, be assured of my ongoing prayers for you all. These are very challenging times, but they are also times where many blessings are taking place. We can see those blessings in what is happening in the Domestic Church, the family bonds that are being realized and the appreciation of many things we take for granted. As we walk with Jesus, not on the road to Emmaus but along the pathway toward discipleship, let us move toward giving our lives entirely over to Him. May we also be proud to profess these words of our creed: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.” Amen.