13 Apr 3rd Sunday of Easter
Dear OLPH Family and Friends,
Due to a slight problem, I am unable to do my usual column. Please accept the following for this week. It expresses essentially my thoughts.
3rd Sunday of Easter
“He stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ But they were startled and terrified.” What was so terrifying about being wished peace? How ironic that the disciples were so scared right at the moment that Jesus was offering them peace.
The fact is that they didn’t understand what was going on. They were already aware at this point that Jesus had risen from the dead, and two of them had just had a powerful encounter with him on the road to Emmaus. But now, he suddenly appeared before them, in a manner that was not only totally unexpected, but also apparently physically impossible. This is why they thought they were seeing a ghost. It just didn’t make sense.
Jesus reassured them with concrete actions. He told them to look at him and to touch him. He wanted his disciples to be comforted by his real physical presence among them. He wanted them to come into contact with his entire being, not just the abstract idea of his presence. Once they did this, they were “incredulous for joy and were amazed.” The peace that he wished for them was now complemented by great joy. It just took a while to sink in.
This may be the case for us at times too. We may not understand the mysterious ways in which Jesus is present in our lives. Sometimes he is hidden in what Mother Teresa called “the distressing disguise.” His Spirit may be present, wishing to bring us peace right in the midst of stress, sickness, anguish, or pain, but we may not recognize him at first. But just because he may not “show up” in the way we expect doesn’t mean he isn’t with us. The risen Christ also wants to give us the gift of peace.
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