A glorious body that eats fish
He passed through closed doors, walked on water and moved an enormous tombstone. He was the Risen Christ. This was his glorious body witnessing to the real life which is our human destiny.
What a marvellous destiny for us human mortals – overcoming our pitiful limits. We are called to walk through the closed doors of our fears and bodily needs. One day we too will step over shattered tombstones, free at last from unforgiving death.
But are we hanging on to a dream or is this for real? Our mind is too poor or too proud to answer. Yet our frail bodies may lead us to the truth.
And he said to them, “Why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, it is I myself; touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” He showed them his hands and his feet and said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of a broiled fish; and he took it and ate it before them. (Lk 24:38ff)
Jesus openly affirms: I am not a ghost. The proof: he ate fish and showed them his wounded hands and feet. He was indeed the same Jesus they knew.
What is the meaning of a glorious body if it is not the same body that had been wounded, nailed and bled to death on a cross?
The Risen Jesus confronts us with the truth that there can be no glory without pain and that our body allows us to experience both. It is in and together with our bodies that we can discover the inner beauty that is our true nature.
The modern ‘emancipated’ mind cannot keep the two together. We either seek glory without pain or despair of glory because of the pain. Both mistakes result from two wrong attitudes towards our body.
The first attitude is to cling to our body as if it was all we had. We declare war on our own woundedness, seeking refuge in a denial of our mortality, our disabilities, our maleness or femaleness, our skin colour or even the shape and contours of our body. We engineer our body in our own image and likeness, according to fashion, convenience or simple comfort, thinking an unblemished body is a glorious body.
The second attitude is to escape from our body in some ethereal space we quickly call ‘spirit’. We believe we can bypass our body, considering it almost as an enemy because it limits our dream of freedom. So we soar above our poor body into our dream-world, ignoring our harsh reality.
We transform our ideals into idealisms, we escape into non-definitions of our genders, our relationships. We suppress difference in the name of equality, we renounce to our identity in the name of liberty.
Thus, our togetherness becomes a convenient economy based on mutual exploitation. We rebel against any restriction, be it moral, physical, social, economic or political.
We have lost faith in the resurrection because we have forgotten how holy and sacred our body is, with all its woundedness and pain. Glory is not the absence of wounds. Loving one another until it hurts leads to the gloriousness of that universal body to which we belong: the Body of Christ. In the Risen Christ our bodies become a point of departure, not a limiting point of arrival.
Believing in the Risen Christ is daring to plunge into the depths of our gaping wounds. It is right inside the pain that life is waiting to spring forth and break all the barriers of our self-centred and fearful existence. Then we shall know what glory is, thanks to our body that is transformed, not simply preserved.
Yes, our destiny can be reached not in spite of, but through our very brokenness.
This Easter, while eating fish or figolli, remember that yours is indeed a glorious body destined to break the barriers between you and your God, between you and your neighbour. You can pass through closed doors, perhaps and simply because your body can eat fish.