Shortly before the resurrection of Jesus, his disciples had closed themselves in the house with lots of shame. One of them, Judas had betrayed their Master.
Their elder, Peter had denied having anything to do with Jesus, and the rest had not done much to show their heroism toward those who mistreated Jesus.
Yet in their shame they continued to hear the stories of the risen Christ and how some of them could not recognize their Master shortly after his resurrection! They had reasons to feel depressed and ashamed.
But Jesus did not feel it that way, he was determined to continue trusting them and even to give them another chance.
In fact when two of them had met Christ on their way to Emmaus; they had failed to recognize him. The bible tells us that Jesus listened to their old story of the Messiah and in response said to them:‘Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into glory?’
Then he began to interpret to them what referred to him in all the scriptures beginning with Moses and all the prophets.
He went on to explain to them that their old story of power and violence, referred to a Messiah mighty in word and deed, who vanquishes enemies but misses the point of the Holy Scriptures.
Amazingly, they continued to stick to their old story even after listening to such a wonderful description of himself.
The story of these two disciples leaves behind some questions unanswered.
Why should these two disciples in the first place leave their group when others were still trying to understand together what had happened? Why did these two give up so quickly and go away with such discouragement?
In fact, they behaved like many of us; when problems crop up, at times we prefer to go our own way rather than seeking a solution with others. Luckily, Jesus found them before it was too late, and he gave them another chance by bringing them back into the assembly of the faithful.
This is a great lesson to us Christians. It is essential that we feel belonging to our community of prayer; such a community is our local church in which we meet the risen Christ with our fellow believers.
It is in that community that we are mutually helped to find the meaning of our faith. And if ever we go astray, let us allow Christ to bring us back like these two disciples did.
Jesus did not give up.
Next, he appeared to the entire group gathered together. Imagine the sense of shame the disciples must have felt for having abandoned Jesus during his Passion.
He did not want his disciples to remain in shame or guilt and so his first words to them as we heard in our Gospel were, “Peace be with you.”
His meeting with his disciples is really one in which he forgives them for having abandoned him. This gentle meeting did so much to ease the tension and calm nerves.
Emotions were returning to normal again and Jesus accepted his disciples without chastising them for having abandoned him.
Instead, he continued trusting them. We too feel a sense of shame when we abandon Jesus through our sins. We too stick to our old story when the word of God urges us to change our attitudes and our ways of life, we do betray Jesus every time we turn our backs on him and do things in our ways contrary to God’s will.
And surely we too would be in a mess if Jesus did not forgive us as often as we ask for pardon. It is from his mercy therefore that after the disciples had received his forgiveness, Jesus gave them a mission, to take his forgiveness to others.
And today we should pay heed to the words of Peter as he says, “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.” (Acts 3:19)
The best repentance is accompanied by a firm decision to stick to our Christian way of life, knowing of course that every time we get lost, God is always ready to give us another chance.