Reflection – April 14th, 2024 – Third Sunday of Easter

The readings for today remind us that Jesus is our advocate. They reassure us that Jesus’ atoning  sacrifice for us and for our sins extends beyond us to the whole world. In the Gospel, first Jesus said to the disciples: ” Peace be with you! ” Knowing how disturbed they were , the state of their minds, the Lord asked, ” Why are you so troubled? ” In other words, Jesus was asking them ” Can you give me reasons for being troubled? I am here with peace!” The disciples in today’s Gospel suddenly had their eyes opened. They recognized Jesus not with just their eyes but with their hearts. They recognized Him because they encountered Him in a totally different light. Their minds that were troubled and closed were changed because of Jesus’ promise that He is always here with peace.

Our actions and reactions in life depend on how we set our minds to things around us. When the mind is closed, nothing gainful happens ; instead we are troubled. Life without troubles does not exist ; in fact , life is full of troubles. Jesus said in the gospel  “that  in the world, you will have troubles. You may not stop them, but He promised that you get through them  because He is with you always.”

Father Charles Irvin has stated that ” Jesus comes to you and me in ways we least expect. We need times of reflection. This is why we need to get out of the busy-ness of our days. We need to turn off all the noise that’s hurled at us in this modern world of ours. For it is in moments of quiet reflection , when we’re out for a stroll , or when we’re in some quiet place where we’re allowed to reflect,  that we begin to “see” Jesus and come into a deeper awareness of His presence to us. “

The world we live in today is full of troubles : the constant pursuit of money and goods , of power and status , the ever present escape into drugs, alcohol and the high incidence of suicides, especially among young people. Our world is slowly crumbling away around us because of all the wars and hatreds and conflicts. We are a people ( like the disciples ) who are looking for meaning , peace and happiness in our lives. We all need to hear the greeting : ” Peace be with you ” and to experience the peace that only Jesus can give. With Jesus beside us we can endure together. We can be a people who face up to the difficulties in life , who are armed in order to turn those difficulties into great value. We must remember that God is with us and will carry us forth , and we need be afraid of nothing.

God seeks us out when we are troubled with doubts about ourselves , the world in which we live , our painful lives , all of these things. May we have some time to make our own Emmaus time and may we come to recognize Him in all those moments where God tries to break in on our time and walk with us as we face all of the stupendous events life hurls at us.  Let us remember the words said so long ago : ” PEACE BE WITH YOU ! “

~Cathy Keirstead


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