April 19, 2015 - 3rd Sunday of Easter, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
The disciples had many different types of encounters with the Risen Lord Jesus.
There is Peter on the seashore when Jesus asks three times, “Do you love me?”
Thomas and the other disciples gathers in the locked room. Jesus appears to them and says Thomas, “Come put your hand in my side and believe.”
The disciples on the road to Emmaus. Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb.
In the gospel today, the disciples are once again locked together in the upper room. Jesus comes to them and asks, “Why are you troubled?”
They are troubled because they are slow in coming to faith, faith in Jesus, faith in the Resurrection.
These encounters with the Risen Lord help this transformation to take place.
The disciples are transformed from troubled people who huddled in fear to those who are able to boldly proclaim that Jesus has been raised from the dead, even in the face of opposition.
Peter was able to endure crucifixion. Stephen was prepared to be stoned to death. The transformation was so radical that many of the other disciples suffered persecution and imprisonment as well.
Today there are many Christians in our world who still suffer persecution and imprisonment for their faith.
The Islamic State has made it clear that it desires to kill all Christians, that includes you and me. And they are already making good on their threats in Syria and Iraq.
In our country we are not yet persecuted in this way, but more and more our society sees believers as being a little odd, old fashioned, sentimental, out of touch, out of step with the times.
There are many ways in which loyalty to our faith can lead to suffering. All I have to do is wear clerical attire out in public to discover this reality.
Doctors and nurses and even regular folk suffer persecution and ridicule for asserting the value of human life.
College students who try to live good and chaste lives are made fun of as being out of touch, prudish.
Employees can be ostracized or terminated for speaking out about injustices in the workplace.
We can be made fun of or talked bad about when we choose to tell the truth, because sometimes the truth is too painful to hear.
So we must ask ourselves, “how is the Risen Lord transforming me?” We are called to be witnesses to the resurrection. And our witness to the resurrection transforms us.
This happens in our daily lives. It can be as simple as telling the truth and being honest and standing up for those who are weak. Or it can be as difficult as being bullied, beaten, imprisoned or even killed.
We are strengthened by our participation in the celebration of the Eucharist Sunday after Sunday so that we can go out into the world and truly live as Jesus’ disciples.
The disciples had different types of encounters with the Risen Lord. These encounters changed their lives.
When we encounter the Risen Lord here in this holy place, how are we changed?