Scripture is being re-enacted today more than ever and yet all our thoughts and actions revolve around a virus!
In Luke’s Gospel, (Ch.4) when Jesus got up to speak to the Jewish priests and people in the Synagogue, he read from Isaiah (61:1,2). This passage, as we know referred to himself, and spoke of The Holy One curing the blind and releasing the captives. In Luke (4:21) Jesus said, “Today this scripture that you have just heard is fulfilled”. It wasn’t what the listeners wanted to hear so they drove Jesus out of town.
We are in lockdown, just as the disciples were in lockdown after the Resurrection. They were trying to come to grips with the events of the past week and especially the Resurrection. Some of them had seen Jesus, spoken with him and even shared a meal with him. Yet here they were locked in a room lest the authorities catch them and put them in prison. Is this starting to ring any bells?
We know Jesus had breakfast with his fishermen friends on the banks of the Sea of Tiberius. He spoke with them and breathed on them. We know also that he was the learned travelling companion that joined the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. They recognised him “at the breaking of the bread”.
It is interesting that the accounts we read of Jesus making an appearance after the Resurrection show him as wanting to prove he was alive through simple things like having a meal together.
When he appeared to the disciples in the locked room and said, “Peace be with you”. There was no doubt who he was. Thomas, the doubter, will attest to that when he said, “My Lord and my God”. It is my bet Jesus then sat down with them all and shared a meal.
The Last Supper was the gift Jesus gave of himself to his friends before his betrayal and death. It was the souvenir he was leaving them. This special meal, which we know as the institution of the Eucharist, was brought into perspective after the resurrected Jesus shared meals with the same friends. Only, at the last Supper the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup of wine were the symbols he used to give them himself. He told them whenever they performed the same actions they should do them in memory of Him. Yet at shared meals after his resurrection he was truly sharing who he was, the Resurrected Christ.
So here we are in Lockdown, which according to our Prime Minister, could last for at least some months. To help us maintain our faith, the church is giving us TV and streamed on-line masses. We have special prayers, novenas and daily thoughts and meditations to support us. So, I ask myself, ‘What would Jesus do in this ‘lockdown’ situation?
Well, I think he would do the same he did when the disciples were in ‘lockdown’. He would want us to be at peace and then join us for a meal together. “When two or more are gathered in my name, I am in their midst”.
Because of our faith, we certainly would not need Jesus to prove who he was, like he did with Thomas. Jesus said to Thomas, “It is because you have seen me that you believed. Blessed are those who have never seen me yet still believe”. Because of those words all believers should feel blessed. We should realise Jesus only wants our invitation to come into our ‘lockdown’ situation and share a meal with us.
So, before we eat our meal could we not thank the Father for sending us Jesus and ask the Father’s blessing on the food we are about to consume. Could we not remember the Last Supper and how Jesus broke the loaf of bread and shared it for all to eat. We can share our bread or biscuit or meat pie or whatever we are going to eat, remembering these as symbolic of Jesus giving us His body.
Remembering how Jesus shared wine with his friends and referred to it as His blood ‘that will be shed for many’, so too, we can share whatever we are drinking after our meal. Be it wine, a cup of tea or coffee or just plain water.
Jesus said, ‘As often as you do these things, you do them in memory of me”. As we share our meal together with Jesus present in our hearts and at our table, surely, we too can say what Thomas said when he recognised Jesus, “My Lord and my God” and then be one in communion with the Risen Jesus with whom we have just shared a meal.
Inviting Jesus into our ‘Lockdown’ situation during our self-quarantining and using the prayers and support given us by the Church will provide us with the ability and hope to face the unknown future.
I’m Peter Mack and that’s how I feel.