We are on a journey towards eternal life with God. God could not create us for mere mortal ends. We will one day reach our destiny. As long as we keep our sense of direction., taking time out to consult our faith: as long as we observe our speed limits, as long as we watch the road signs such as indications of our spiritual danger and signs of progress, as long as we are concerned on our fellow travellers, giving support to them: as long as we take care to refuel our spirits, making it a regular practice to pray.
However, our Christian journey will not be exempt from the rocks and dust of simply being human. Gospel is good news, But Jesus never said it was easy news. We will encounter the harsh realities of our personal and social lives.
Life always seems better on the other side of the hill; the grass always looks greener in another field.
In the gospel today, after the crucifixion of their master, two of his disciples disappointed because all their hopes had been devastated by His death, left Jerusalem and were on their way to Emmaus in search of the other side of Calvary.
And the Risen Jesus joins them for the journey. The men are discussing the events of the weekend at one point along the way, one of them said, “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” These men really believed they had the one who was going to make everything better, and they had a picture in their head of what that would look like. They certainly did not believe it would involve Jesus dying. But with the death of Jesus all of their hopes died.
Have we ever said something similar to these men? “But we had hoped….” I am sure we did…
But we had hoped this pandemic would end soon. But we had hoped our healthcare workers would be safe. But we had hoped a new vaccine would work. But we had hoped my near and dear ones would survive this. But we had hoped my people would not lose jobs. But we had hoped the leaders of nations would do everything possible to protect the citizens and make the just decisions.
But we had hoped they wouldn’t tease me this time. But we had hoped they would believe me when we said he/she hurt me. But we had hoped we would be able to play with our friends and meet our family members. But we had hoped our children would go back to school
Of course, we can keep on adding our hopes. To hope for anything means that we will be at best, but unfulfillment of hopes leads to disappointment, and at worse, devastation.
And devastated seems to be the right description for what these disciples are feeling. They cannot believe what happened to Jesus and they are trying to make sense of it by talking it out on their journey. They are so upset by it all that they cannot even recognize that Jesus is right there with them.
Why was it difficult for the disciples to recognize the risen Lord?
St. Augustine of Hippo reflects on the dimness of their perception: he says in his sermon..
“They were so disturbed when they saw him hanging on the cross that they forgot his teaching, did not look for his resurrection, and failed to keep His promises in mind”
Jesus’ death scattered his disciples and shattered their hopes and dreams. They had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. They saw the cross as defeat and could not comprehend the empty tomb.
When we are in that kind of place where it feels as if all hope is gone, we become blind to any measure of hope that may be right in front of us. The resurrection is the event that shows us that the worst things in this world are not the last things.
Jesus’ dying was the worst thing for those who followed him and devoted themselves to him. They thought the journey they had with Jesus was over. So, they started a new journey – a journey born of broken dreams and lost hope. And Jesus shows up
And in showing up, those who followed Jesus, realized they were following the right person. Jesus’ resurrection redeems their story of loss and hopelessness into a story of great hope.
In the face of even the worst things that happen in our lives, remembering the story of the resurrection, reminds us that even the worst things in our lives are not the last things.
In these uncertain times, it is difficult to process our disappointments with no clear ending in sight. And we brace ourselves for more and more disappointments.
Though it doesn’t take away the feeling of disappointment, we can find meaning all around us, as long as we find transforming life lessons in our day today events of life at these difficult times.
Especially when we try to connect with our families and friends through digital way, trying to cheer them up and to share our love, when we find time to be with God, or when we wave our hands or share a smile at someone from a distance, when we try to beautify our garden… we could add our own thoughts of finding transforming life lessons.
Finally Let us believe, in our journey we are not alone. Jesus walks with us. He walks with us in our disappointments, lack of understanding, our hurts and bitterness as he did with the disciples. Jesus is that invisible walker we all need to look for. And if we allow it, may be Jesus will interrupt our journeys of lost hope and transform them into journeys of joy and delight.