Sunday Breakfast with the Word
The world is filled with daily troubles, societal unrests, health challenges and worrisome moments. Many families today are going through different kinds of crisis and many Christians are undergoing internal and external crises.
Many are troubled by their pasts and the burden of their sinful nature while some have many internal problems eating them deep which have kept them restless. In the midst of these troublesome experiences, the readings of today provide us with a way to encounter the inner tranquillity of the soul.
There is nothing that surpasses that peace that comes from God. That inner peace that envelopes our souls in the midst of trials and troubles is a blessing that is incomparable to anything in this world.
Peace in the Midst of Crisis.
After the crucifixion and death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the disciples of the Lord were enveloped in fear and left without hope. They may have concluded that all hope is lost. They hid in fear like sheep without a shepherd.
In Mark 16: 10, Mark says that they were deeply in mourning and tears. In John 20:19, John says that they hid in fear because of the fear of the Jews.
At the time of calamity, the disciples that encountered Jesus on the road to Emmaus came home with the news that they had an encounter with the risen lord.
At this point, Mark 16; 13, says that the apostles did not believe such news. Hence it was while they were debating and talking about this that Jesus appears in their midst with the greeting of peace.
Hence what Jesus offers his disciples in the midst of trouble is peace. This is a peace that is beyond human understanding.
The implication is that if you are undergoing an inner crisis, you sincerely need that peace that only Jesus can offer.
The Most Precious Gift that Jesus Gives.
In the traditional custom of the Jewish people, there is always a form of greeting when people meet. But normally they either address the person by name or by the position that the person holds.
When Nicodemus visited Jesus by night in John 3, His greeting was “rabbi” (John 3:2) which was also a sign of respect.
When the angel Gabriel came to Zechariah, He greeted him by name (Luke 1:13) but greeted the Blessed Virgin Mary with a special greeting “Highly favoured One” ( Luke 1:25). And many other examples.
When Jesus appeared to the apostles He would have used any other form of greeting but Jesus knowing fully well that they are undergoing a sort of crisis greeted them with the greetings of peace.
Hence in the midst of crisis and trouble, only the presence of Jesus can assure us inner peace and tranquillity.
When you invite Jesus into your homes, families and troubles, invariably you invite peace. Anyone who accepts Jesus accepts Peace.
This virtue is what the devil hates the most. He does not dwell where there is peace. Every peaceful home is a Godly home.
He is Aware of the Crisis.
In John 6:16-21, the apostles of Jesus struggled against the wind on the sea of Galilee, Jesus came to them and calmed the sea.
Now, after the resurrection, Jesus knows that His disciples would be in a deep crisis and He goes searching for them. Jesus’ appearance to His disciples is to show them that He is still alive.
In the same way, God is aware of our crisis. In the midst of problems, God searches for us. He uses some experiences to make us come close to Him and assure us of His mighty presence.
How To Encounter the Peace of Christ.
1.To encounter the peace that Jesus gives, we need to be close to the giver of peace himself. We need to encounter the lovely presence of God.
When we are fully sure that God is truly real and works in His way, our faith would be so much strengthened.
This is why most of the saints are always cheerful, despite the sickness and problems they pass through. In Acts 5:41, the apostles rejoiced because they suffered for Jesus.
There is a joy that comes to the heart that is fully assured of God’s divine presence during a crisis. This is the kind of joy that enveloped the apostles today.
2.Secondly, every encounter with the Lord strengthens our faith in Him. He will use many experiences to assure us of his mighty presence even when we think He is not there.
When He appeared to the apostles today, he showed them his wounds, allowed them to touch him and ate with them, to show them that He is truly He alive. They were happy again.
When we encounter the Lord and become fully assured that God is real, our faith is always strong even in the midst of problems and difficulties.
3. Like Jesus appeared to the disciples, if truly we want peace, we need the presence of the one who gives the peace. If we need the peace that Jesus gives, then we have to seek Him with all our hearts. He knows how to fill us with His peace.
In today’s gospel, the apostles thought that He was a ghost. In John’s gospel, He specifically writes that Jesus appeared to them when the doors were shut (John 20:19).
So this is the reason they were filled with fear. Despite that the room was closed, Jesus penetrated in the moment of their fear and worrisome situations.
His appearance is to strengthen their faith. We can imagine the joy that greeted their faces when they encountered the risen lord. When we are in the midst of a crisis, always pray that His presence comes to dwell with us.
At the time when the Thessalonians were going through some difficult times, Paul prays for them “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.”
Paul knows that great peace comes from the lord, and He wishes them this peace that only God can give. If you need peace, pray for it, seek for it and go for it. You will surely find it.
2. We need to repent and turn to God. Sin creates a very big gap between us and God and sometimes when we remember our pasts and what we have done, we become uncomfortable and uneasy.
In the first reading, Peter told the Israelites that though they killed Jesus, they did that out of ignorance, so that what was said about Christ would be fulfilled. Hence, the only way God can wipe away their sins is to repent and turn to Him.
In the same way, there are many who when they remember their sins, feel God would not forgive them again. The only way to remain peaceful with yourself and your God is to repent and turn to Him.
3. We need the word of God. When the word of God is our guide, we shall come to the knowledge of God’s purposes in our lives. Then we come to know that not all challenges are bad in themselves. We need His word always.
That is why when Jesus appeared today He opened their minds from the scripture that the Messiah is to suffer. It’s when we take the word of God as our guide that we shall know the true meaning of crosses.
When the cross comes to your life, the way you react to it would be different because, at that time, your knowledge about God has increased.
In the second reading, John says that anyone who obeys what God has said, the peace and love of God would come to perfection in HIim. Abundance comes to those who love the word, and nothing can make them stumble. (Psalm 119:165).
1.When Jesus appears to His disciples he displays His wounded hands and His feet to them. He does this to show them that He is the same Jesus and nothing has changed.
At this, great joy swept them. In this way, God reminds us that He is the same even when we feel He is absent. He is the same and He hasn’t changed. He can also use many experiences to assure us of his mighty presence.
Like the joy that comes to the disciples today, there is this inner conviction and joy that greet our heart often when you are sure of God’s presence in your life.
2. Before the appearance of Jesus, the disciples of Jesus remained in fear and many of them could not believe. But after this, joy became the other of the day.
We become always afraid when we feel God is not active in our lives again. This is why many doubt if God is real or not because they feel He is so absent in their lives. But when you come close to Him, significant change will happen in the way you believe.
3. When Jesus appeared to the disciples, he let them understand that it is necessary that the messiah has to suffer. Hence, Jesus presents suffering, not as something bad in itself but something that can lead to man’s salvation.
Every suffering that you go through today maybe for a reason that may even be beneficial to you. When you understand this mystery, you will appreciate whatever comes in your path.
Before the resurrection there was suffering and death, hence before one also reaches his/her destination, there may be hard experiences to pass through.
4. The question Jesus asks his apostles today is “why are you so frightened and live in doubts?” In the same way, He is asking us today “what are you fearing? What is keeping you uneasy?
The showing of his wounded sides is like telling us that “if I can I do these for you then I can do anything for you”. You do not need to be afraid.
5. Finally Jesus sent them forth today to become his living witnesses just like Peter was in the first gospel. Hence we have to be harbingers of peace and not destruction.
If we are truly sons and daughters of the resurrection, then we have to create peace, where there is no peace. We have to live and preach forgiveness wherever we are and make people turn from their evil ways.
We do claim to be sons of God but we bring hatred and wickedness wherever we go. In your family, what happens there is enough to show if truly there is a child of God living there.
Always bring people to God and create peace wherever you go. When people encounter you, they should encounter Jesus and not the devil.
So remain blessed, peaceful and joyful always, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.