As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.
Luke 24:36-42 recounts one of the times the disciples saw Jesus after He rose from the dead. I love this particular passage, where they are filled with so many different emotions (fear, doubt, disbelief, wonder, joy). And what does Jesus do? He EATS in front of them. Dead people don’t eat. I remember hearing once that no one ever eats in dreams either. I can’t say that I ever remember dreaming about eating.
Back then the disciples didn’t have modern medicine to help us check for signs of life – breathing, pulse, etc. Maybe Luke knew some of these, being a doctor, but I think the fact that he shares this account of Jesus eating some fish tells us that the accepted proof of life was eating something. I know a lot of grandmothers that would completely agree with this, the ones who push food towards you the minute you enter their home, and have containers filled with baked goods and casseroles stuffing their refrigerators and covering their counters.
There is something about sharing food together that is so very human. Our celebrations are tied to the food we consume. Nearly every major holiday has the expectation of a dinner, a picnic, a barbecue, or at the very least, a pile of candy. It’s no coincidence that Christ gave us a sacrament that involves the sharing of food and drink. It is in the eating and drinking that we come together as a family, as a neighborhood, as a community, as believers.
Jesus is feasting with us.