Third Sunday of Easter – B

Ghosts make very good stories. Shakespeare gave us the ghost of Hamlet, Oscar Wilde gave us the Canterville ghost, and Charles Dickens gave us three ghosts in a Christmas Carol. Ghost stories are very old and it’s quite possible that the apostles had heard ghost stories. When they saw Jesus, for the first time after his resurrection, they thought that he was a ghost; and it’s hard to blame them; because the last thing they had heard of Jesus, is that He was dead, dead on the cross.  How could he be alive with them in the room now?  Jesus knew that he had to give them a sign. He sat down and had a meal with them. When they saw him eating, they believed? This gospel story is very important for all of us because we like the apostles also have moments of darkness and uncertainty.  Many times, questions arise in our hearts: ‘is it all true?’  ‘Did this really happen?’  ‘Do I really believe in Jesus, or do I believe in a ghost?’  When these questions arise, we don’t need to worry.  Great saints have gone before us with the same questions. St. Francis knelt before the crucifix in Assisi and prayed, ‘enlighten the darkness of my heart, give me true faith, hope, and perfect charity. In a letter to her spiritual Director, Rev. Fr. Michael Van Der Peet, St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta wrote wearily about an absent Christ in her life: “Jesus has a very special love for you,” she assured Fr. Van der Peet. “[But] as for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see, – Listen and do not hear – the tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak. I want you to pray for me – that I let Him have a free hand.” There will be moments in our lives too when we must pray like this.  The real answer comes from Jesus himself; he gives us the gift of faith; he teaches us to see with the eyes of faith so we can see what we have never seen before; to hear what we have never heard before; to go where we have never gone before.  On the great journey of faith, which is more beautiful than any other journey; when we have the risen Jesus in our hearts, we become messengers, and we can pass on the light of Christ to others; just like we do at the Easter Vigil. We can be light in darkness, joy in sadness, community in isolation. We can be a people of peace, a people of hope in times of despair. We can be Eucharist to dry bread, wholeness to a broken life.