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It’s a big wonder that the disciples did not recognize the presence of the Risen Lord in their midst in successive moments of appearances of Jesus to them. These people were supposed to be most sensitive to Jesus because they heard his teachings, they walked with him and they knew the promises he made about his future and theirs. Now that Jesus has conquered death, why are the disciples oblivious of the reality of his victory?

The gospel today answers that puzzle indirectly. Jesus had to patiently and gradually deal with his disciples by appearing to them, speaking to them, allowing them to touch his body, eating with them and explaining to them the prophecies contained about him in the Scriptures. Through these series of steps, the gospel says: he opened their minds…

Jesus opened their minds because their minds were closed! With all the goodwill in their heart, with all the fervor in their souls, they were ordinary people dealing with tragedy and unbearable pain and embarrassment. Because of this, their minds were closed to the power of the events just taking place.

How can a crucified man return to life? How can a dead man guide us now? What explanation can we make of the cross to others who hope in it with us or to those who ridicule us because of our allegiance to it? Are we not being misled by a ghost or by memories of the dead?

Fear, shock, shame and defeat were clouding their vision. Their minds were closed. Their eyes merely followed suit.

How often in life we also fail to recognize that the Lord walks with us and leads us into the light. Not because we refuse his guidance and love. No, in fact, we yearn for it. But we fail to perceive Jesus in our midst because our minds are closed too. We are powered not by faith but by prejudices.

We fail to encounter Jesus. We fail to identify him in others. We fail in seeing his hand in the events that touch our lives. All because our prejudices prevail over us.

How can my childhood faith support my life now as a complicated adult – that is the question of many who feel they have outgrown their God and early religious practice. Others struggle to see God in people they do not like or do not expect to be sincere and generous. And how can you decipher God in sickness, in pain, in death and in fear? Many experiences leave us wondering whether there is a God out there.

Only Jesus can truly help us with our closed minds and hearts now. Lord, you are Risen from death but I am still struggling with my encasement in the tomb of my prejudices, fears and shame. I do not deny your resurrection but I want to feel it more so as to believe it fully. Be patient with me, Lord. Open my mind. Open my eyes. Touch me and make my faith steady again. Amen.