“Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see that I have.”
Here as in all the resurrection appearances, Jesus shows the disciples not only that he is real flesh but that his relationship to time has changed also. If Jesus is not a spirit but tangible flesh and bones, if he eats the same fish as the disciples, then his time is not ghost-time either. What we have here is not some fictitious appearance of duration, but time in the most genuine and real sense possible.
Christ’s time, witnessed to by all this seeing, touching, hearing, eating, and encountering, is not divorced from our time, but is in an ordinary, straightforward way continuous with it. This is immediately clear in the story of Emmaus. Recall how Jesus walks with and talks with the two disciples – the alternation, succession and interweaving of words and actions between the three of them. In Jesus' actions we see the eternal allowing itself to be drawn into time and going along with it in genuine companionship. In the freedom of the resurrection Jesus is able to move in the world of changing time without being subject to it.
The time of the forty days is thus genuine time, but no longer moving inexorably toward death; time no longer as a burden, but blessed, open, spacious time possessing the sovereignty merited by Jesus and bestowed by the Father. His manner of being, revealed in the forty days, is the ultimate form of his reality.
In the Eucharist and in the sacraments, Jesus existence and mode of duration is therefore no different than that of the forty days. For the believer this means that receiving the sacraments allows the risen and glorified Christ present in them to interact with him or her with the same naturalness, spontaneity, freshness and sovereign freedom with which he encountered and interacted with his disciples during the forty days. When we embrace these in simplicity, Jesus is able to enlighten our minds and hearts just as he does for the disciples in this morning’s Gospel.
Photograph by Brother Brian. Excerpts from Father Timothy's homily at this morning's Eucharist.