The Third Sunday of Easter
"Then he said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?" (Lk 24:35-48)
Is it needless to echo these words spoken by Jesus, "Peace be with you," on this third Sunday of Easter from Luke's gospel reading? This conversation is even more complicated as Jesus spoke those words to two despondent disciples, mourning their beloved friend. I can't imagine greeting a friend or a family member as they immediately grieve a loved one's transition.
Jesus then adds salt to the wound by asking these two callous questions, "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?" Were they supposed to check their feelings at the door and be happy disciples? Even right now, accepting Jesus' peace is very difficult when looking at our society's climate. Another hot day of violence may be quickly approaching.
The recent release of videos involving an African American army cadet hazed by a police officer troubled my heart. And then, there was the video of a 26-year experienced police officer and Trainer who mistakenly reached for her pistol instead of her stun gun. Her error caused a young man, 20 years old, to die. In all reality, hearing Jesus' words of "Peace be with you" does not make the questions disappear. Yes, I am troubled and have many questions in my heart, equivalent to the prophet Habakkuk.
Recorded in the Old Testament, these inquiries capture my and perhaps others' emotions of today. The prophet asked, "How long, O LORD, must I cry for help and you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" and you do not intervene? Why do you let me see iniquity? Why do you simply gaze at evil?" (Hab. 1:1-3). These prophetic words, I am sure, pierced God's ears similar to that of the aunt of Daunte Wright. When asked how she felt, she responded emphatically, "This was not God's plan." I don't see this phrase by Jesus, "Peace be with you," as comforting as they sound, soothing and comforting words. Yes, I have many unspoken questions today, Jesus, many of them hidden in my heart. Do you?
Therefore, I pray today. Speak to my heart Lord, your words again, "Peace be with you." Let my words touch you so that I can know and experience the peace you wish in my soul. I need your peace to calm my troubled heart. Show me how to be a witness to your love. Daunte's family and others' blood is crying out from the ground; how long must driving Black be a crime? We need your peace in a world where laws perpetuate injustice towards just-us. Help the Asian Americans who, like Jesus, are falsely accused of controlling mother nature. Help the Latin Americans whose families are constantly torn apart by FBI authorities. Send someone to the officer whose fatal error adds to the continuing ordeal of children growing up without a father. She needs your love. O help us, Lord, to see you again and again in the breaking of the bread and the mercy you give. Restore my Easter joy with your resurrection power to end the violence of today. We are an Easter people, and Hallelujah is our song even in the midst of violence.
Authored: Evangelist Michael Howard, MACS