THE REAL FORM
“…who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead [Acts 10:41].”
This statement is subtle, but it is important. It shows that Jesus was real and present in the room with the apostles. If He were just a spirit, He wouldn’t be able to eat and drink. Later (following the Ascension) Jesus would take a spiritual form so He could be transcendent of time and space. But what is clear in this reading is that Jesus came to His apostles in a form that would give them the most strength for their journey.
In Matthew, Jesus tells us He will come in the form of the poor. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” [Matthew 25:40, 45, NIV].
Young people today are seeking a Jesus that comes in a real form, not just words like “thoughts and prayers” following a mass shooting, but bold and insightful actions from their leaders. After having been told that “this is not the time,” they are demanding the time to be now and the actions to have actual outcomes that protect the vulnerable. They are pressing for responsibility to accompany rights (e.g. if you have the right to bear arms, you also have the responsibility to protect the vulnerable).
Jesus sat with the disciples at a time they were most vulnerable. Their necks would be on the chopping block if they were to speak out courageously and they had retreated to the Upper Room, despondent at the loss of Christ. It was in their fear and pain that Jesus was most real to them.
SIGNS OF A REAL JESUS
What do you think would be signs that Jesus is real in your life?
There are many signs in today’s readings that would indicate the reality of Jesus in our daily life.
- “The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone [Psalm 118:22].” A cornerstone provides stability to the entire structure. Does that sound like your life? Can people count on you to be trustworthy under pressure—even rejection?
- “Think of what is above, not of what is on earth [Col 3:4}.”
Further explanation of this sentence is found elsewhere in the same chapter, “ But now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths.  Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator. Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
Can you be a source of calm and compassion when others are not? When others vent their anger or are less than truthful, can you be counted on to be loving and a source of hope? When your values are tested, can you deepen them by practicing them—even when it is inconvenient or unpopular? Can this be said of your life at home, school and on social media?
SINCERITY AND TRUTH
Even if falsehood seems prevalent in our society today, it doesn’t justify our use of these behaviors; in fact, just the opposite. It makes it all-the-more-important that we become an example of sincerity and truth. Not the kind of truth that condemns those who are in disagreement with our beliefs, but the kind of truth that becomes the cornerstone of communities built from a perspective of what is just for the least of these.