Third Sunday of Easter | Year B
The disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognized Jesus at the breaking of bread.
They were still talking about this when Jesus stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great they could not believe it, and they stood dumbfounded; so he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.
Then he told them, ‘This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms, has to be fulfilled.’ He said to them, ‘So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.’
The disciples were dumbfounded at the appearance of Jesus in their midst, and “their joy was so great they could not believe it”. He took a very simple step to convince them he was not a ghost, asking them for something to eat and then eating it in front of them (which presumably a ghost would not do).
The normality of eating gave the disciples time to think and to let joy begin to overwhelm their other feelings. If this happened nowadays Jesus might have said “Could I have a cup of coffee please?” as a way of breaking through the terror, fright, disbelief and joy which were surging in the hearts and minds of the disciples.
In our lives, the common cup of coffee or tea can often be a time to think, to assess, to regroup, to regain control, to re-establish a relationship, to deepen a friendship, to listen, or to offer advice. It can be the space in which we begin to process very good or very bad news, attend to hurt feelings, overcome feelings of revenge or anger, quietly celebrate an achievement. It can also be a moment of reflection or prayer. Tea and coffee are often more than just caffeine shots.
The first words Jesus spoke to the disciples were very ordinary. Only when they were settled did he speak to them about bigger things, showing him how he had fulfilled the scriptures and beginning to open their minds to their future as witnesses.
Sometimes in our relationship with God and with others we need a “settling” action – for the disciples, the fish; for us, the coffee – before we proceed to bigger or more difficult things or we react to a situation. It is worth the time, because it allows space for the Spirit.