NUTFIELD PARISH CHURCH

The Church of St Peter and St Paul

Thought for the week

14 April 2024 - Ghosts don’t eat fish!

Imagine if Jesus appeared to you. What if he showed you the wounds in his hands and feet and invited you to touch him so as to believe? Would you believe it?  It would be the beginning of an experience that could be life-changing, just as it was for these disciples. Our Lord’s appearance to the disciples led to their transformation from men who were confused and doubtful to men who were filled with joy and zeal. Eventually, they would go forth preaching about Jesus as witnesses to his death and resurrection with courage and a desire that all who heard them would turn to Jesus as their Saviour.

Today, we are entrusted with the same mission given to our Lord’s disciples, and we must preach with the same zeal, courage and conviction with which they preached. First, we must become as certain as they were about Jesus’ triumph over sin and death. We must turn from all sin and believe that the fullness of life is found only in Christ Jesus. But then, we must commit ourselves to the proclamation of this faith with every fibre of our being.

Begin by considering how deeply you believe in Jesus as the Saviour of the World. Though it might be tempting to think that having Jesus appear to you in person would help deepen your faith in him, the truth is that the first disciples were not primarily convinced because of the physical appearances of Jesus. Rather, this gift came primarily through the spiritual touching of their minds. After appearing to the disciples physically, we read that Jesus “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” Luke Chapter 24. This was what convinced them more than anything—the spiritual gift of understanding. And that gift is offered to you today, just as it was to the first followers of Jesus.

St. Thomas Aquinas explains that the spiritual gift of understanding is a gift that reveals to us the very essence of God. He explains that it is a much deeper form of knowledge than that which is obtained through our five senses. Thus, simply seeing something with our eyes, touching it or hearing it is not nearly as convincing as the knowledge obtained through the spiritual gift of understanding. The gift of understanding enables us to “read inwardly” and to penetrate the very essence of something. For that reason, the physical appearance of Jesus might have been the first step toward believing, but it wasn’t until these same disciples encountered our Lord within their souls, perceiving the very essence of His Resurrection inwardly, that they were forever changed. Only this form of knowledge could then convince them to go forth and proclaim the message of salvation.

Reflect, upon your own knowledge of Jesus and the transforming power of his resurrection in your life. Has God spoken to you within the depths of your soul? Have you perceived this inward knowledge and had your mind opened? Listen attentively to our Lord—not just with your ears but primarily with your spirit. It is there, within you, that you, like the first disciples, will come to know and believe in the life, death and resurrection of Christ so that you can then go forth empowered to proclaim these truths to others.

You have to read Luke 24 to understand why ghosts don’t eat fish.

Every blessing

Father Paul