3rd Sunday of Easter | 18 April 2021
“Peace be with you.”
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Brothers & Sisters,
“The peace of the Lord be with you always.”
Our hearts long for a deep peace, a peace beyond all understanding. We place our quest for peace in things of this world: financial security, comfortable homes, and fulfilling friendships and family connections. Often we still find ourselves disappointed when our lives are “perfect” because stress, anxiety, and worry do not disappear. At every Mass, the priest offers the words, “peace be with you” and we respond with, “and with your spirit ” We offer the sign of peace (even as modified versions during COVID) as a sign of sharing in Christ’s peace. Yet most significantly, the Lord Jesus, the true and lasting source of peace, comes into our midst during Mass. Only Jesus can provide us freedom from our struggles. This gift of peace Christ offers is possible through trust and living our faith with patient endurance.
The risen Jesus appears to two companions journeying out of Jerusalem toward Emmaus in today’s Gospel. These two are puzzled that the newest addition to their traveling party has not yet heard the latest buzz. Had this scene transpired today, one could picture the pair glued to handheld devices, regularly responding to notifications and keeping up with this latest news but somehow missing its true impact. Yes, the team was leaving Jerusalem on a journey, but they weren’t seeking the authenticity of the claims of Resurrection.
Only when Jesus reveals himself in the breaking of the bread does the importance of the experience register—inspiring these two disciples to change course immediately, returning to Jerusalem and seeking out the apostles, telling them all that had taken place. Of course, there were no search engines, social media, nor GPS; they could only have known where to find the apostles if they had been among the disciples following him. And when they told their stories, Jesus appeared in their midst, with a most consistent greeting, “Peace be with you.”
They struggled to accept the truth of Jesus’ Resurrection. Though overjoyed to be in the presence of Jesus, they presume Jesus to be a ghost and are terrified. Regardless, Jesus meets them where they are never angry; Jesus is patient with them. He explains his passion, death, and Resurrection once again. Declaring them to serve as witnesses to this miracle.
Jesus continues to appear and offer us true and lasting peace. And even today, he meets us with patience despite our struggle to believe and commit our lives fully to God’s will. We do not need to wait until the next time we gather at the altar to experience Jesus’ presence; every time we share and give witness to our faith, Jesus is present. As the apostles were, we may not be startled to see Jesus but are assured of Christ’s abiding presence.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
Rev. Michael S. Triplett