Updated: Apr 19, 2021
A 3rd Sunday of Easter Reflection
By Fr. Robert Leus, CJM
Why are you troubled? This is one of the questions Jesus asked his disciples when he appeared for the third time after the Resurrection and, from the reading, we can almost feel a strong emotion the disciples felt – they all felt guilty!
They were called, chosen and lived with Jesus for almost three years and yet at the peak of Jesus’ passion, they hid and left him! And it was very vivid when Jesus stood in their midst; they were all startled, terrified and afraid and reached to the point that they thought Jesus as a ghost! Was it out of guilt or were they simply afraid?
No matter what feelings they had at that time, the mere fact that Jesus came back, true to his teaching that ‘on the third day, he will rise again,’ is tantamount to say that God’s love is unending, everlasting and immeasurable!
We humans are the apex of God’s creation!
We are the reason why Jesus came and lived among us!
We are the reason behind that crucifixion on the Cross and the resurrection on the third day!
That even though the disciples abandoned Jesus, Jesus did not abandon them and he was faithful until the end even when they were not!
Come to think of it, this also applies to us in one way or another: Even though we abandoned Jesus, Jesus will not abandon us and he will be faithful until the end of time, even when we are not!
Resurrection from the dead is very new for them although they witnessed the raising of Lazarus, so their reactions are valid!
Jesus, in wanting to show the disciples who he really is (the Anointed One), appeared to them after his death and burial. I am sure this event brought the disciples goose bumps.
“Peace be with you” is the best greeting Jesus can offer them at the moment when they were face to face with the reality that their master and teacher can victoriously surpass even death.
This turning point is a 360-degree change of the disciples’ way of seeing Jesus and it opened not only their minds but especially their hearts that what Jesus proclaimed is true and authentic.
The encounters of the disciples with Jesus launched a new mission…
After these encounters with the Risen Lord and after Pentecost, the disciples became very furious and zealous on how to become true disciples of Jesus! They became very bold in telling to the people what Jesus did with them and how he was raised from the dead! They became true witnesses and examples of Jesus’ preaching and proclamation!
These are the challenges being given to us as followers of Christ! How can we be witnesses of the Resurrection of Christ in our time? How can we proclaim that Jesus is alive? How can we be missionaries of Christ?
First, let us live our faith in the Risen Lord through our words and deeds. Be role models especially in our homes and workplaces. Be an example of what Jesus taught us and live like Jesus. Remember what St. John Eludes, the founder of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary, told his confreres: “Forming Jesus in our lives is the continuation of Jesus’ life here on earth!”
Second, let us be channels of God’s peace, mercy and love! Peace is the very first word Jesus uttered when he appeared to his disciples after his resurrection and we are called to do so. Be an instrument of God’s peace to all. Aside from our giftedness amid limitations, we can offer peace especially to those people whom we do not know or even those outside our religion or community.
And lastly, let us recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread. The Eucharist is the humblest way Jesus can show his humility to us. And in the breaking of the bread, we are called to recognize the loving presence of God. Let us participate actively in the mass because, in every celebration, we can renew our faith we received in our baptism.
Indeed, many things put us in troubles especially nowadays but if we live our faith in the Risen Lord, we can be channels of God’s peace, mercy and love. If we recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread, the appearances of Jesus at the resurrection encounters with his apostles will have an important role in our being witnesses of faith in Jesus, our Lord and King!
Lord Jesus, we thank you for the gift of faith and your day-to-day presence in the celebration of Holy Eucharist. May our true recognition of You be our way to proclaim your victorious Resurrection to all world! Amen!