(A biblical refection on THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER [YEAR B] – April 19, 2015)
Gospel Reading: Luke 24:35-48
First Reading: Acts 3:13-15,17-19; Psalms: Psalm 4:2,4,7,9; Second Reading: 1 John 2:1-5
The Scripture Text
Then they told what had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
As they were saying this, Jesus Himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why to questionings rise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; handle Me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when He had said this He showed them His hands and His feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate before them.
Then He said to them, “These are my words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. (Luke 24:35-48 RSV)
We just don’t have faith in certain people. We sell them short. The disciples on the road to Emmaus could not “see” Christ because they were convinced He was still dead (Luke 24:16). Mary Magdalene was the same. She could not see Christ in the garden (John 20:14) because she did not look through the eyes of faith: faith in the risen Lord. And the disciples were terribly disturbed by a “ghost” (Luke 24:37) because they were convinced Christ had died for good.
A lot of us suffer from this myopic vision. We fail to look for the right things in the right places. We don’t believe what our eyes see. We have to gear our sights wider to the least expected carriers of grace, or continue to miss out. How many friends have we only superficially appreciated because we see no value in them? How often do we fail to read or study to find out about public issues, simply because we know we’re right, or “all politicians speak the same way”? How can we possibly grow wiser if we don’t listen and search?
The same applies even more to our vision of Christ. If we only have faith in a remote God-creator who somehow keeps the world going, then we will not see and experience the God-man Christ who knows our problems, walks with us, accepts us for the way we are. We won’t grow. To “experience” the divine presence of Jesus is just too emotional for us. If Jesus Christ asked for a bite of our fish – He couldn’t be God. He’s too common, too available.
How do I know I have the right faith-vision of Christ? John answers: “The way we can be sure of our knowledge of Him is to keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3). “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34). At rock bottom this means appreciating those we think little of. Then we should start “acting” like Christ is right alongside of us. Talk to Him during the day and share events. If we really get good at this practicing, soon the reality will dawn on us. The power of Christ will move over us with “sheer joy and wonder’. And we will begin to know that “God raised Him from the dead, and we are His witnesses” Then the peace and joy of the apostles will be ours. And we will want to spread the Good News. Maybe even begin when we (you and I) turn to the one next to us and proclaim. “The Lord is risen, peace be with you.”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Author of all truth, a people once in darkness has listened to Your Word and followed Your Son as He rose from the tomb. Hear our prayer and strengthen Your Church to answer Your call. May we rise and come forth into the light of day to stand in Your presence until eternity dawns. Amen.
Note: Please also read the biblical reflection entitled “KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS REVEALED THROUGH LOVE” (reading for April 22, 2012) in thIS blog: A CHRISTIAN PILGRIMAGE; category: BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS 2012.
Jakarta, 17 April 2015
A Christian Pilgrim