I would like to look at three profound truths of our faith found in today’s readings.
First of all the today’s readings remind us that God’s plan to save our world always involved suffering love.
The cross was not a mistake. It was not something forced on God. Suffering love was God’s choice and God tried to prepare humanity for this choice throughout salvation history.
In the first reading from Luke the author of the Acts of the Apostles tries to explain this to his readers.
In the Gospel Jesus explains once again for the umpteenth time that the Messiah had to suffer and die.
Jesus submitted to the Cross because it was the will of His Father and with His suffering love on the Cross Jesus paid the price of our sins.
No matter how many times Jesus had explained this to them and no matter how clearly Moses and the prophets and the psalms had foretold this profound truth, the disciples and the people of Jesus’ time just did see the cross coming.
Jesus’ followers and the people of His time held on to their misconception for dear life. They thought that salvation was just about getting their political independence back, they were convinced that the messiah was sent simply for the restoration of Israel’s political independence, not the salvation of the world.
This misconception proved a serious stumbling block to their faith.
I would almost say a grave stumbling block for their faith in Jesus.
The second profound truth of our faith is this.
The Cross was not the end of the story.
Jesus rose from the dead.
Death did not win, sin did not win, evil did not win.
The tomb was empty indeed and Jesus was alive.
In today’s Gospel passage Jesus went out of his way to make sure that the disciples and those who would follow them knew this profound truth.
He presented himself to them and interacted with them and went so far as to eat something to prove that he was not a ghost or a spirit but rather had indeed risen from the dead.
Next He showed them his hand and his feet, and the scars of the cross to prove he was not someone who looked like Jesus.
If Jesus had not risen,
and If the tomb was not empty,
if the early Church had not been absolutely convinced that Jesus had risen from the dead we would not be sitting here now.
The power of resurrection faith transformed the disciples and gave them new hope and new courage.
After the resurrection they were no longer afraid, rather they boldly proclaimed that what Jesus said and what Jesus did was true
Tradition teaches us that their faith so transformed them that all but one of the Apostles chose suffering love over life and died martyrs for their faith.
The third and last truth I would like to mention is this.
Jesus had every right to be hurt or angry or disappointed in his dear friends
He had walked with them and laughed with them.
He had depended on them and they had depended on him.
He knew and loved their families
He had worked miracles in their sight and gave them incredible insights into God’s love for them and God’s plan for them.
But they all abandoned him.
It is important to notice that the first words out of His mouth after the resurrection were not words of reproach
or even disappointment
rather they were words of encouragement and hope.
“Peace be with you” he said.
Dear friends good people.
The people of Jesus’ time were not the only ones burdened with misconceptions about God and his presence in our lives.
So often we look on God as some kind of slot machine where if we ask long enough or pray long enough or play long enough we will get what we ask for.
Many people think that our faith is about our own little needs and our own little wants rather than the salvation of the whole world.
Quite frankly I’ve heard people say I prayed and God didn’t give me what I asked for so I don’t believe anymore.
People in this boat don’t see God as Father and source of all life
People who think this way don’t understand that every moment of our life is a gift from God.
They just don’t see that God is to be thanked and praised rather than peppered with our wants and desires.
Next as followers of Jesus
If we think that we can go through our lives somehow spared from suffering we are sadly mistaken.
God was willing to give his life away
and so must we be willing to surrender to suffering love.
Love is God’s call for us and suffering love is the Highest form of love,
suffering love is the way that God loved us.
When suffering love comes our way we must not run and hide like the Apostle but we must embrace it like Jesus, God Himself, accepted it.
Holy ones our entire faith rests on the resurrection…
After the resurrection the faith of the Apostles changed.
We are the post resurrection followers of Christ yet quite frequently we act like the pre resurrection disciples afraid to give any public witness to our faith in Jesus Christ.
Our love for the world
and the proclamation of our faith must be bold
we must live our lives, and profess our faith, without fear but rather filled with hope.
For when Jesus said
“You are witnesses to these thing”
He wasn’t only speaking to the Apostles he was also speaking to us.
Let us meditate on God’s place in our lives
Let us embrace the cross and accept the suffering love which comes our way.
Let us be bold and confident post resurrection Apostles of our Lord Jesus.
For we are indeed witnesses to these things.
How we love your word O Lord.