Today’s Gospel (Luke 24:35:48) takes place right after the disciples experience Jesus on the road to Emmaus. They return to Jerusalem and share their experience with their fellow disciples and then Jesus appears to them right there in the upper room. The disciples are shocked to see Him. Jesus says to them, “Peace be with you…Why are you troubled? Why do questions arise in your hearts?”
These questions got me thinking this afternoon when I had a chance to sit down and reflect on the reading. Christ appeared directly to the disciples. He was standing right in front of them and they were still doubting. They couldn’t believe it was actually Him. They were so caught up in their questions and doubts that they couldn’t accept right away that Christ really was there. They had been told all along that He would die and come back, but still they questioned. He even gave them His peace and that wasn’t enough – still they were shocked and confused.
Aren’t we the same way? Christ constantly gives us His peace – He often enters into our lives, but we struggle to recognize Him and we question and doubt Him. Why do we struggle so much in recognizing that He is involved in our lives and has a plan?
I think when it comes to the disciples, they were struggling because things hadn’t gone according to the plan they had for Jesus. They thought He was going to be a king, not die. And then when things didn’t happen the way they thought it should they lost their confidence and struggled to recognize Christ and doubted what He had told them, that He would rise. But in that doubt, Christ came to them. He didn’t say, never mind you’re doubting, I don’t want you. He appeared to them. He showed them His wounds. He brought them His peace. He ate with them. He helped them see how the scriptures they had studied their entire lives was pointing to Him all along. He made Himself real to them in their doubt.
He does the exact same thing for us. Amidst all of our doubt and questioning He comes to us. In those moments where we want to walk away and give up, He shows us His wounds. He reminds us that He knows what it feels like to be in pain, to suffer, even to doubt in a human way. He brings us His peace and He gives us the strength to carry on and keep the faith.