When I read this week's Gospel I realized that I needed to share with you what I'm going through in spite of the fact that it's very personal. My recent struggles are deeply personal and they are getting in the way of what I know to be true. I'm in a strange place and I'm not sure what to do or where to go. It feels like I'm taking one step forward followed by two steps back. For example, we went to a concert last Friday night. Chris Tomlin and Matt Maher headlined the Worship Night in America show. It was wonderful. I truly felt God's presence and my spirit was lifted in spite of my recent struggles. However, three days later I'm back in my funk. Why does this happen? Is my answer in the Gospel?
The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have." And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.
He said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, "Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." Luke 24:35-48
Even though they experienced Jesus' presence and their "hearts had been burning within them" the disciples still struggled. They were troubled and had questions in their hearts. Jesus proved to the disciples that He was present with them in body. Not only did Jesus show them HIs scars but He also ate fish to demonstrate His physical presence. Once He established this Jesus spoke truth. In a few sentences, He brought clarity to everything that had happened, was happening and if we read further what was to happen. (The coming of the Holy Spirit... "And [behold] I am sending the promise of my Father...")
The answer to our struggles, doubts and fears are always found in Jesus. I'm not being flippant. If we listen to what He said to the disciples in this Gospel passage, Jesus' coming, suffering, death and resurrection applies to all of humanity's ills. You and I are no different. As I wrote these words today Jesus helped me to understand the why of my struggles. More importantly, He showed Himself to me in His Words (read the Gospel above) and in them, I have found the peace that has escaped me for some time. "I am a witness to these things!"