In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus assures the disciples that he is not a ghost: “Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” This risen Jesus is not a ghost. He is alive! This last statement, however, is much easier said than grasped. Resurrection is outside our human experience, so we have a hard time making it concrete. This gospel challenges us to move resurrection beyond a theological concept to a life to be experienced by us, here and now. How concrete Jesus is in leading the disciples to experience and believe in his resurrection. In this gospel, Jesus comes to them, where they are, he invites them to touch his risen body and he eats baked fish!
Like long ago, Jesus comes to us where we are. No matter whether we are faltering in our ability to be faithful, or are terrified at the demands living the Gospel entails, or are struggling with doubt, Jesus still comes to us. When we stray, Jesus touches us with his forgiveness and invites us to forgive others. Jesus invites us to come to his table, feeding us with his risen Body. Jesus is alive!
The risen Jesus is known today in the goodness that surrounds us, the hope that encourages us and the love that strengthens us. The reality of the resurrection is known when we are forgiving people, when we are repenting people. The resurrection, then, makes a difference in our lives. It challenges us to do what is utterly basic to the gospels: repent and forgive. This Jesus is alive. This is no ghost.