The readings for Sunday, April 22, 2012:
First Reading: Acts 3:12-19
Psalm: Psalm 4
Second Reading: 1 John 3:1-7
Gospel: Luke 24:36b-48
In this week's Gospel, we have another appearance story, and what an odd story it is. In the post-Resurrection stories, Jesus has taken on supernatural capacities that, with the exception of some of his accomplishments with his miracles, he didn't really demonstrate before his crucifixion. Here, he suddenly appears; a few verses earlier, he has vanished after eating.
The disciples, rooted in the rational world, can't make sense of what they're seeing and hearing. Those of us who spend our secular lives surrounded by people who are disdainful of the mystical might find ourselves more sympathetic to their plight.
I find myself coming back to verse 41, the disciples who “disbelieved for joy.” In Eugene Peterson’s words, it seems too good to be true (The Message version of the Bible).
So many things get in our way of believing in good news: despair, fear of hurt, joy, our commitment to what our senses tell us. Even as the disciples see Jesus standing in front of them, even as they touch him, even as they share a meal together, they can’t believe how lucky they are. They literally will not believe.
How much we are like the disciples, buffeted by bad news, unable to see the Divine standing right there in front of us. How nice it would be to have Jesus there to help us understand all these mysteries: “Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures” (Luke 24: 45). So many weeks we have minds that have snapped shut. I find myself envious of these disciples who are there at the beginning, with open minds and joyful hearts and a soul that finally understands.
I remind myself that I have an advantage that these disciples didn’t have. I know that this Good News will be spread far and wide. I know how the world has received it at various times. I have seen regular humans who are able to transform their corners of the world with an ability that seems almost superhuman—but it is a power that comes from Christ.
I want to be part of that community. I want to be a resurrection human, one of those lights who doesn’t let the drumbeat of bad news drown out the Good News of Jesus.
Jesus is still here, reminding us of his scars and of the capacity to overcome those things that scar us. Jesus is still here, waiting to share a meal with us. Jesus is still here, reminding us that we are witnesses and co-creators of the Kingdom, that we are called to a far greater destiny than our tiny imaginations can envision.