This is the second post in the series on Theological Reflection, which explains the first stage of Theological Reflection, Experience. We will look at the first part of the story of Luke 24: 13-25 where the two followers of Christ were on the road going from Jerusalem to Emmaus. After the events of the Holy Week, we can easily understand their confusion and their need to express what is going on. I think we all can relate to these followers, because we all find ourselves with confusing stories in our lives. We have to get it out; we have to tell the story. Ultimately, that’s a hallmark of what a good friend is: someone who will listen to you when you’re hard to listen to. When we look at this text, we easily become detached due to the historical context. So much time has passed between now and then. But the story that the followers tell was the news of the day, a confusing news of their hopes and their dreams. Not only that, they shared their fears and the terrible reality which they experienced.
A stranger came and began the conversation with the question: “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” We learned later in the story that the stranger was Jesus Christ. The two followers responded by speaking to their hopes and their dreams: “Jesus of Nazareth who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people in our chief priests and leaders had handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified but we had hoped that he would be the one to redeem Israel.” (Luke 24:19-20)
We all have experienced moments of our lives when we put our hopes on others. People we lift up to lead us to somewhere better. People in power do not like people who we lifted up. They would work unflinchingly and at all costs to destroy them. That was the case with Jesus. Their teacher who had shown the people what it is like to love, who had opened up Scripture to them, who took the complexities of the divine law and made it simple: to love your God with all your heart with all your mind and to love your neighbor as yourself. He lived it out by healing the sick and feeding the hungry. Doing these acts, he posed a threat to the religious order of his day. Those religious leaders were threatened and felt he had to be put down.
Then the two followers continued to tell an account of the Good News about “these women went to the tomb and did not find the body but, tell us that he is alive.” (Luke 24:23) The followers tell the Good News in a minor key and so it is with our encounter with Christ.
Very seldom do I find people who speak to God’s actions in their life in a totally positive light. When I talk to people about their faith, they shared stories of moments of crisis or moments of despair, they cannot make sense of the divine act. All people of faith who have a mature faith have gone through such moments. These moments that they call into question are the very nature of what they believe. Too often the religious institution is eager to give us answers to questions we do not fully yet understand and fails to help us to grow in our faith. Because of the failure of religious institution, many believers today experienced that there is no room for their doubts, therefore no room for their beliefs and themselves.
God is present with them, yet they do not recognize that God is with them. Yet, Christ is present with them, so Christ is present with us in those moments of doubt and of questioning. Both the individual and the institution should not fear doubt, but see these moments as an opportunity to grow faith. In this reality, we ought to walk with people through those moments of crisis and figure out ways by asking the right questions to help them express those hard stories.
This post explored the story of two followers of Christ sharing the news of the day, a confusing news of their hopes and their dreams. Not only that, they shared their fears and the terrible reality which they experienced. They shared their hopes and dreams. All people of faith who have a mature faith have gone through such moments, where they call into question the very nature of what they believe. God is present with them. So it is with us in those moments of doubt and questioning, Christ is present. So even in the moment of our greatest doubt, God is present with us.
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