This Easter season, I have been thinking about the resurrection of Jesus and what it means for us 2000 years later. Additionally, I’ve been considering the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection having happened. We don’t have any eyewitness accounts in the Scriptures of Jesus’ actual rising from the dead. But we do have the empty tomb, the testimony of the women who encountered the angel there, and the apostle’s accounts of the Risen Jesus appearing to them. Of all the post-Resurrection stories, I think the one from today’s gospel is the one I love the most: the barbecue on the beach after an eleventh-hour reprieve from a night’s fishing that yielded nothing, and the opportunity for Peter to repent of his threefold denial by declaring his love for the Lord three times.
The instructions (feed my lambs) that follow Peter’s expressions of love are meant for us, too, and that leads me to what I think may be the most convincing evidence for Jesus’ resurrection: the vibrant, loving Church, of which we are all a part, still ministering today, feeding the Lord’s lambs, with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Still, one cannot deny that there is evil in the world, even within the Church, and that can be discouraging, perhaps obscuring the truth of the Church as the Risen Christ’s Body. The fourth verse of Bob Hurd’s “Two Were Bound for Emmaus” that we are singing at liturgy today may be helpful:
When the road makes us weary, when our labor seems but loss,
when the fire of faith weakens and too high seems the cost,
let the Church turn to its risen Lord, who for us bore the cross,
and we’ll find our hearts burning at the sound of his voice.