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Third Sunday of Easter - Cycle B

Luke 24:35-48


“They were still incredulous for joy and were amazed.” (Luke 24:41)


Ever since encountering the John Paul II quote, “We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song,” I’ve often recalled those words to my mind, especially when I’m meditating on the nature of joy. In some ways, while it is not as fun, it is easier to relate to a suffering Christ. Positive emotions feel fleeting and don’t leave as deep an impression on the brain as the negative ones. The narratives of Jesus’s Passion and death are only a fraction of the gospel readings, yet those scenes imprint into our minds in ways that the Resurrection often does not.


Joy is a precious thing, so precious that we can accidentally lose it while we are trying to keep it. Our brains want to protect us from disappointment so badly that we can’t always see what is right in front of us. In this week’s Gospel reading, Jesus shows up and the disciples didn’t know how to handle this appearance. First, they’re scared because they think He’s a ghost, and even after Jesus gives evidence to the contrary, they are still in shock. Yes they are stunned by joy, but it's clear their minds were reeling from the sudden shift from grieving to witnessing their master's return in a miraculous way.


Moments of joy can feel so fragile, especially if you have experienced a lot of heartache in your life. Being joyful is often a vulnerable place to be. In the same way, being an Easter people when the world is still broken takes a lot of grace. Believing that God has redeemed the world seems contrary to what we experience, but it is reality, just like how it seemed impossible for Jesus to be in their midst again, and yet, there He was.


Being an Easter people is not to ignore the pains of suffering or to be a starry-eyed optimist, but to realize that not only is there triumph in the future, but there is triumph now. I personally find sitting with this complexity tricky sometimes but I’m hoping that contemplating more on the glorious mysteries of our faith can help me steer away from cynicism and anxiety to be able to see Christ just as clearly as the disciples saw Him in the upper room.

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