Third Sunday of Easter, YR B: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; 1 John 2:1-5; Luke 24:35-48
In recent years, whether in preaching, books or spiritual direction, many people have taught us valuable pointers in owning and working with our doubts. We can appropriate them as positive forces in our spiritual growth. But the unexpected confirmation of what I hope for can leave me as disoriented as any mishap or doubt.
I may, in fact, be less prepared to accept a blessing than I am to cope with a problem: not only is my future altered, but how I understand the past is changed. Nothing is what it seemed to be. That is what today’s Gospel from Luke tells us as opposed to last Sunday’s Gospel from John describing Thomas’ doubts.
Jesus had prepared the disciples for his resurrection but, their limited experience could in no way give them a foretaste of what resurrection is. Recognizing it in actuality is overwhelming and it’s easier to understand Jesus’ presence among them as that of a ghost, than the fullness of life.
Jesus’ resurrection and his applications of the scriptures to himself, rather than to Israel’s history or a transcendent God beyond their reach, draws him into the center of each of his disciples’ lives. There, where their deepest fears of annihilation collide with their most desperate hopes for life, now appears their Risen Lord. This breakthrough illuminates everything that went before and equips them for everything to come.
Haven’t you had some experience in your life like that, when everything snaps together and even the misfortunes in your life become a gift, leading to a fuller life? When that happens, then I am touched by the risen Christ from within. Then Jesus the Christ is no longer just a protagonist in a Bible story. Then he encounters me as the foundation of my existence, the shape of my truest self.
And if I’m disoriented, isn’t that all for the best? Might it not push me out of the limelight so Christ can take center stage?