Why Are You Troubled?

3rd Sunday of Easter (B)

“Why are you troubled?” That’s what Jesus asks the disciples in the gospel we read this Sunday. It’s the first time in Luke’s gospel that Jesus appears to the Apostles after his Resurrection. First he appears to the women at the tomb, then he appears to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and finally he appears to the Apostles. And he asks them “Why are you troubled?”

“Why are we troubled?” I mean, the one we followed as the Messiah was just tortured and executed and most of us who thought we were so faithful turned tail and ran and now some people are telling us that he’s risen from the dead and we’re confused and frightened and we don’t know what’s going on! And you ask why we’re troubled!?

Can’t we all sympathize with the disciples in that moment? Don’t we all at times feel like the rug’s been yanked out from under us, things are spiraling out of control and we don’t know what’s going on? Jesus comes to us in the midst of all that confusion and asks, “Why are you troubled?”

What’s interesting to me is the way he calms their troubles. He points to himself and more specifically to the bodily resurrection. Look at my hands and my feet. I’m not a ghost. It’s really me. And then says, “Have you got anything to eat?” So they give him a piece of baked fish and the gospel says, “he ate it in front of them.” He’s showing them that he’s not just some phantom or apparition, but he truly did rise bodily from the dead. And if that’s true, then they have no reason to be troubled.

We have no reason to be troubled. Because the ultimate enemy of humanity, which is death, has been conquered, and for those of us reborn in Christ, even though we die like him, we will also rise like him. And Jesus doesn’t just overturn death, which is just a symptom of our disease, he cures us of the root cause of that disease which is sin, by his forgiveness. And that’s why he told the disciples to preach the good news of the forgiveness of sins to all the nations.

We are the recipients of that good news. So no matter what else is going on in our lives or what other troubles we may face, we can rejoice in Christ’s Resurrection and our participation in it. Jesus comes to us even now and asks, “Why are you troubled? Just look at me.”