- Fr Emil Valeza
In Fears and Doubts
3rd Sunday of Easter - Gospel Reflection: Luke 24:35-48
Many of us, if not all, have already experienced “dark moments” in our lives, moments when our life seemed to be abandoned by the light of hope, when we felt so lonely, left out and discouraged by life’s miseries like the inevitable death of a loved one due to an incurable disease, betrayed by a trusted friend, failed in board exams, or when we struggled from certain addictions and the like. These are just some of life’s “dark moments” that we might have all experienced in one way or another. Such moments could bring us down and tear our life apart. They could also gravely affect our relationship with God. They could weaken our faith in Him and could eventually lead us to fall away from Him forever.
Yes. Many times we are easily discouraged by all these negativities. We find it hard to cope with all kinds of challenges in life. Many times we tend to stop from struggling. We stop from believing that God is always there for us. However, despite of all our doubts and hopelessness, God never ceases to encourage us. He never abandons us. For always, he gives us hope and strength to persevere just like what Jesus did to his disciples when they were in their lowest point of their lives.
In our gospel, the disciples of Jesus are confined in a room, hiding in fear from their enemies, the same enemies who persecuted and killed their Master. They are apparently in despair, confused. And even if some of their brothers have already reported to them that they met Jesus on their way and He is truly alive, they are still in doubt.
What happened to their faith? Their faith was weakened by their doubts and fears. It only shows that the disciples of Jesus have not yet fully realized His true identity and mission. They are so slow to understand everything that Jesus told them before He was crucified.
This is affirmed when Jesus suddenly appears in their midst, consoling them with His words, “Peace with you”. In their surprise, they think of Him as a ghost! Maybe Jesus is quite disappointed with them. Perhaps He is expecting that they will embrace Him with great joy once they see Him. But because of their incredulity, the disciples react in a different and negative way.
So Jesus has once again reminded them of the prophecy about His Passion, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.” (Luke 24:46). He tirelessly and patiently teaches them that all the prophecies about Him are true, and He has finally fulfilled them. “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” (Luke 24:44). He also addresses their questions about His resurrection by showing them the marks of his wounds. He even asks them for food, telling them that He is indeed truly alive, flesh and blood, subject to hunger and thirst.
The struggles of the disciples in their early life with Jesus could also happen to us or could already be happening to us. And just like them, we also have our own Calvary experiences, problems, difficulties, and challenges in life. Our initial reactions could be the same, fearful and full of doubts. But we do not have to repeat the same mistakes. Rather, we should learn from them.
We have to remember that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is truly alive and not dead. He knows our struggles and hears our pleas. He understands our sufferings because it is through His own suffering and death that we were saved. Therefore we should not allow despair to conquer us. We should never lose hope. Remember that God is always with us to comfort us in our sorrows, guide us in our journey and strengthen us in carrying our own crosses as we follow our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Fr. Emil Valeza