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SUNDAY SCRIPTURES FOR APRIL 14 | Jesus invites us to get closer so He can address our doubts

When we experience Jesus’ resurrection in a bodily and tangible way, we can be His presence to others

As we make our way through these weeks of the Easter season, it’s important to remember that all the events we hear about in the Gospels take place after the resurrection.

On the third Sunday of Easter, we see Jesus inviting those who encounter Him to touch Him, see Him and get very personal with Him. He doesn’t want any of His disciples to walk away with doubts or fears. He wants His disciples to approach Him in whatever way they need to, so that they can get through the suffering and death and embrace the resurrection.

As we go through this Easter season, we should be making the same journey. Even though we are celebrating the resurrection, don’t forget that each of us carry with us the disillusionment and disappointments of our lives. We carry with us the suffering and pain that we have incurred and the betrayals that we have experienced.

To embrace the resurrection, we must do more than have an intellectual encounter with the risen Christ. Since Jesus came to us in human flesh, He asks us to experience His resurrection in the same way. Even though His disciples are afraid or doubtful, He doesn’t shame them, but invites them to get closer. What do we believe about our lives that has the power to separate us from Jesus? What is it that has caused us to doubt the power of God over deadly and painful things?

To be able to come into the presence of the risen Christ, we must open our eyes and continue to encounter real life. We cannot allow sadness and pain to cloud our vision or keep us paralyzed in the past. As you notice from the post-resurrection stories, most of the disciples were headed back to their ordinary lives before they met Jesus. He meets them on the road, by the lake or in the cemetery. In each of those places, He stops and listens to the stories that His disciples have to tell. Instead of correcting them or shaming them, He listens — and then allows them to experience His resurrected presence.

Our Easter season is longer than Lent because we need more time to believe in the resurrection than we need to believe in our sin. For some reason, we are easily convinced of how bad we are and convinced with more difficulty that there might be hope for us. Please use these days and weeks to allow the Good News of the resurrection of Jesus to enter into our mind and heart. As believers, we have made a mental assent to believe in the resurrection, but have we allowed the resurrection to affect our imaginations and hearts?

Contemplate the beauty of the world and the order that God has brought out of chaos. Enjoy the freshly blooming flowers and trees. Enjoy the excitement of little ones as they rush for Easter eggs or enjoy a chocolate bunny. Enjoy being at Mass and experiencing the Scriptures, the presence of other believers and the gift of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Make a choice to serve some other human beings in a charitable and generous way. Once we’ve done that, notice how it expands our hearts, allows us to believe in our own goodness and gives us the opportunity to experience the joy that generosity can bring to others. In that very choice, we were the presence of the risen Christ to others. That is experiencing the resurrection in a bodily and tangible way.

A blessed Easter to you. May your alleluia not just be said in church, but also in the world.

Father Donald Wester is pastor of All Saints Parish in St. Peters.

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