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Friends, in today’s Gospel, the risen Jesus appears to his eleven disciples. That the Resurrection is a literary device, or a symbol that Jesus’ cause goes on, is a fantasy born in the faculty lounges of Western universities over the past couple of centuries. The still-startling claim of the first witnesses is that Jesus rose bodily from death, presenting himself to his disciples to be seen, even handled. 

It is a contemporary prejudice that ancient people were naïve, easily duped, willing to believe any far-fetched tale—but this is simply not the case. They knew about visions, hallucinations, dreams, and even claims to ghostly hauntings. 

In fact, in St. Luke’s telling, when the risen Lord appeared to his disciples in the upper room, their initial reaction was that they were seeing a specter. But Jesus himself moved quickly to allay such suspicions: “Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.”

While they were, in Luke’s words, “still incredulous for joy and were amazed,” the risen Jesus asked if there was anything to eat and then consumed baked fish in their presence. This has nothing to do with fantasies, abstractions, or velleities, but rather with resurrection at every level.