This week we celebrate the Third Sunday of Easter. Today’s Gospel passage contains another account of one of the resurrection appearances of Jesus. He stands in the midst of his disciples and says: “Peace be with you!” They are startled and terrified because they think they are seeing a ghost. Jesus asks them why they are troubled and shows them his hands and his feet to let them know it is he. He invites them to touch him so they realize he is not a ghost. Then he eats a piece of baked fish with them. They are amazed and truly filled with joy, knowing that the Lord is indeed risen. Did you ever notice that we always speak of Jesus being risen in the present tense? We say he is risen. This morning I read a wonderful reflection, some of which I would like to share with you. It is entitled Life in the Present Tense. It was written by Clarence Jordan (1912-1969), and is taken from a section of his book, The Substance of Faith and Other Cotton Patch Sermons. Here is what he has to say:
“The resurrection places Jesus on this side of the grave – here and now – in the midst of this life. He is not standing on the shore of eternity beckoning us to join him there. He is standing beside us, strengthening us in this life. The good news of the resurrection of Jesus is not that we shall die and go home with him, but that he has risen and comes home with us…”
[Later in the section, Clarence says]:
“On the morning of the resurrection, God put life in the present tense, not in the future. He gave us not a promise but a presence. Not a hope for the future but power for the present. Not so much the assurance that we shall live some day but that he is risen today. Jesus’ resurrection is not to convince the incredulous nor to reassure the fearful, but to enkindle the believers. The proof that God raised Jesus from the dead is not the empty tomb, but the full hearts of his transformed disciples. The crowning evidence that he lives is not a vacant grave, but a spirit-filled fellowship. Not a rolled-away stone, but a carried-away church.”
Clarence Jordan, a farmer and New Testament Greek scholar, was the founder of Koinonia Farm, a small but influential religious community in southwest Georgia. He was also instrumental in founding Habitat for Humanity.
Let us continue to celebrate the Risen Lord Jesus, present among us!
Blessings on your Easter Season!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ