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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Witnesses of These Things

By Dean Louis Bascon 3rd Sunday of Easter April 26, 2009 (Lk 24:35-48)

The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have."

And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to 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." Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, "Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things."

We often have doubts when we are faced with much trouble. We ask ourselves, "Will this ever end? Will everything be OK? " We doubt so much that we don't believe people who try to comfort us and say positive things to console us.

In today's Gospel, the disciples were listening to the story of two of their companions who have encountered Jesus on the road to Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:13-35). Suddenly, Jesus appeared to them and greeted them with peace. As they haven't yet come to believe the news of the resurrection, regardless of the many testimonies of witnesses, including the two speaking to them at that moment, they were terrified on seeing Jesus, and thought He was a ghost.

Sometimes, we let doubt envelop our hearts so much that even the thought of God's presence does not console us anymore. We lose hope so easily and we fail to believe that Jesus is alive and is at work in our lives. We just close our minds to the idea that we have problems. Yes, we doubt so much that even when solutions hit us in the face, we fail to see them, just as the disciples failed to rejoice immediately on seeing Jesus.

In our troubled times, Jesus reveals Himself to us and tells us that He is alive, that He is with us. He casts away our fears and doubts by showing us His hands and feet, by showing us that He has triumphed over death and suffering. This is Jesus' way of saying, "Do not doubt. I am more powerful than your problem. See, I am tougher than nails!"

In the Gospel, Jesus opened the minds of His disciples in order for them to understand the Scriptures. He made them realize that everything happened for a reason, that God planned all these things from the beginning; His passion, death and resurrection is His redemptive action, His messianic mission. He made them appreciate the marvels God has done for the salvation of man.

After helping us overcome a problem, Jesus opens our minds too. He makes us understand why we had to undergo such a situation. We understand what God is trying to teach us through the problems we encounter. Our minds are opened to understand God's ways and God's will.

As disciples of Christ, we are His witnesses. We have encountered Christ. Christ works in our lives and we feel His presence. It is now our mission to spread the news that Jesus is alive. We need to tell our neighbors that Jesus is alive in them too. More than that, we need to show them that Jesus is alive by the way we live. It is our duty to help them in the process of letting Jesus open their minds.

We are witnesses of Jesus and we must spread the news of His resurrection from our hearts, to other hearts, that they too, may be witnesses!

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