3rd Sunday of Easter, Year B
Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
1 John 2:1-5a
April 19, 2015
The story in our gospel passage today comes right after Jesus has appeared to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. They did not recognize Him until He broke bread with them.
The two disciples immediately, and rightly so, go to the other disciples to tell them what has happened. Meanwhile the Lord also appeared to Simon.
Hearing that Jesus was risen should have brought great joy to the disciples. Jesus Christ is Risen Today! The others might have begun to long to see Jesus risen for themselves.
Jesus appears to them and says “Peace be with you.”
What is their reaction? Are they overcome with joy? No, they are startled and terrified. Jesus knows they are troubled. Why are they troubled? Why do they have questions in their hearts?
As I have said in recent weeks, they did not yet understand what it means for Jesus to have risen. No one had risen from the dead before. Jesus had brought the dead, like Lazarus, back to life but that was not resurrection but merely (hardly merely as a miracle) a resuscitation, not a resurrection.
Resurrection is not a return to physical life as we know it but neither is it devoid of our lives here on Earth. Jesus shows them His hands and feet that still bear the marks of the nails from His Crucifixion. He also eats with them to show that He is risen with his body.
Part of their troubles and questions is rooted in the fact that this is not what they expected to happen. They expected a messiah-king who would defeat their enemies and become a great earthly king.
They did not expect the messiah to suffer, die, and rise but Jesus now explains what they could not have understood before His Death and Resurrection – how the prophets had foretold His Suffering, and how He himself had spoken of His coming Passion and that He would rise.
The disciples experienced all of Jesus’ ministry, passion, and resurrection one step at a time. We see it as a whole and know how it fits what has been foretold so we can look at it with joy, not with the troubles and questions that the disciples did.
That means we have no troubles or questions, right? Won’t that be nice?
The reality is we still have troubles. We have questions. Why is there evil in the world, wars, violence…? Why do people suffer great illnesses? Why don’t we have enough money?
Given what we see in this world, questions like this can seem quite natural. Questions like these can lead us to question if there is a god. Is this a sin?
If we make a choice to believe God doesn’t exist or, at least, doesn’t care, I think it can be sin. But if our thoughts wonder why God allows suffering means we understand that the violence and suffering are not what God desires for us. God desires only good but God loves us so much as to give us “free will.” That means we can make whatever choices we want. Sometimes, we, or others, make bad choices that lead to suffering. For instance, my mother smoked for thirty years and then ended up with emphysema and eventually cancer.
Violence like the many shootings happen because people choose to do evil.
This explains some of the suffering but not all. The reality is we aren’t going to understand everything. In our human form, we cannot understand everything but in faith we can look beyond evil and the suffering towards what Jesus reveals to us in His Crucifixion and Resurrection, eternal life.
This gives us peace and the ability to trust in God. Now, we must be witnesses to what we belief and tell others about Jesus.
It is true about believing with faith.
Thomas did not believe when Jesus came back. Maybe during that time, Thomas is exactly like many who do not believe in Jesus today. Maybe Thomas has extra ordinary gifts given by God and his job is only base on evidence seen like many scientists today believing in facts and evidences provided. If Thomas at that time believes after seeing how much more for us today to believe through faith without seeing. Believing in in Jesus without seeing is Faith with Hope at all times. I feel so privileged to be one of them because there is Peace in my heart when I focus on the Word if God. I also know there will be many challenges in this evil world against the power of The Holy Spirit..