WHY ARE YOU TROUBLED? REFLECTION FOR THE 3RD SUNDAY OF EASTER (YEAR B) Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.

EASTER THURSDAY READINGS AND REFLECTION: "PEACE BE WITH YOU...WHY ARE YOU  TROUBLED?" (Lk 24:35–48).

In the history of your life, one of the important pieces of advice you may receive from your parents, teachers, and others could be, “stay out of trouble.” But you soon discover as you go through life that as much as you try to stay out of trouble, it sometimes comes looking out for you. And the trouble with trouble is that it never comes alone.

The arrest, passion, and death of Jesus Christ happened like a swift storm leaving the disciples confused, distraught, and troubled. The various versions of the news of the resurrection could have made the matter more troubling.

The Gospel of Luke (24:35-48) relates how two disciples who encountered the resurrected Lord on their way to Emmaus were recounting their experience to others when Jesus appeared among them. What happened afterward leaves us with profound lessons for our Christian life and hope.

First, Jesus says, “Peace be with you!” But they were still startled and terrified and thought that they saw a ghost. Knowing the state of their minds, the Lord asked: “why are you troubled?” In other words, Jesus was asking them, “can you give me reasons for being troubled? I am here with peace!”

If the disciples were attentive, they could have remembered the words of the  Lord in the Gospel of John (16:16ff), where he says, “little while you will no longer see me and a little while you will see me.” They should have also recalled these words: “very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy” (John 16:20). Great and memorable promises.

Overcoming the Closed Mind

The disciples were troubled and terrified because their minds were closed. Our actions and reactions in life depend on how we set our minds to things around us. When the mind is closed, nothing gainful happens; instead, we are troubled.  

Their closed minds could not allow them to remember the words of the Lord. Jesus had to open their minds to understand the Scriptures. Notice here that we need to open our minds to understand the Scriptures, and there is a difference between knowing and understanding the Scriptures.   

Why Are You Troubled?

Life without troubles does not exist; in fact, life is full of troubles. In the Gospel of John (16:33), Jesus said, in the world, you will have troubles. You may not stop them, but he promised that you get through all of them because he has overcome. David was not guessing in Psalm (34:19) when he says that many are the troubles of the righteous, but God delivers him from all of them.  

Some of the troubles you go through in life are necessary. They could even help to bring out the best version of you. Remember that without Joseph’s troubles at Shechem, he would not have made it to Egypt to become the prime minister and adviser of Pharaoh (Genesis 37 & 40). The troubles of the pit and the prison may lead to the glory at the palace.

Like the disciples, we are often troubled about things that are no longer there. We need to open our minds and rise beyond the ghost-seeing mentality that distorts the reality around us. We need to see the risen Lord and not a ghost.

You need to understand that your condition is not your conclusion. There could be troubles, but they are not forever. Do not allow the troubles around you to disorganize your life, get you locked in, and rob you of that peace you deserve. The good news from the visit of the Lord to the disciples today is that wish of peace, and you know what? You would need that peace this hour, and nothing should stop it, not even the troubles around you.

We pray that the peace of the Lord, which the world cannot give (John 14:27), reign in our heart today and always. Amen.

Shalom.

Fr. Bonnie.

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