April 12, 2012 - Thursday in the Octave of Easter

Today's Readings

In the Gospel today, Jesus appeared to his disciples and testified to himself, showing the wounds on his hands and his feet, but the disciples were "incredulous for joy.” “Incredulous for joy.” This was a thing too good to be true! The Lord Jesus is risen from the dead. Why do the disciples disbelieve him? Obviously he is not lying. They see him with their own eyes and hear him with their own ears, but some things just seem too good to be true. Our eyes must be lying; our ears must deceive us.

There is a natural pessimism behind this attitude. We see the world full of suffering, but we cannot see the world full of joy. We live in a world with water falling from the sky, with food growing up from the ground. We live in a fairy tale. Then the first tragedy comes along. We see imperfection in the world, and we are forever cynical. This pessimism tells us that we do not belong in this world. If we belonged to this world, we would see the events happening around us as natural. We would enjoy life when it is good and not be surprised when it is bad. Yet we are surprised, we are astonished by suffering. We expect the world to be perfect even though it manifestly is not. So when the world is only mostly perfect, we consider that it is very, very bad.

The disciples had just suffered such a blow in the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. They had started to become optimistic when they saw the work of Jesus Christ, so they fell all the more when he was killed. If something is good, someone will ruin it. Some things are too good to be true. In the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the perfection that we have been expecting our whole lives. We are afraid to believe, because our hopes have been disappointed before. Whenever things seemed to be good, something had to come along to ruin everything. Instead, in Jesus Christ, we find a good that nothing can take away. It is so very good and absolutely true.

The Resurrection is what we have been waiting for since we lost Eden. It is time to leave pessimism behind. This world is disappointing, and every time we begin to put our hope in it, it will disappoint us again, but we have a new hope: Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.