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The joy and beauty of suffering may be found in God

May 1, Sunday of the Third Week of Easter
Sunday Readings: Acts 5: 27-32, 40b-41, Revelations, 5: 11-14, Gospel John. 21: 1-19 or . 21: 1-14

When our family lost a father whom we love, everything that followed seemed empty. We all attempted to resume our regular routines a few days following his departure. However, everything was meaningless; it seemed as if something was missing that we could not convey. There were no emotions, no passion. Something significant had vanished.

What we did seems meaningless and purposeless because the people we love and who mean a lot to us are gone. We lost the head of the family. We had no role model, no leader, no breadwinner in the family. Sadness, grief, disappointment, despair, and anger persisted. What will be our future? Where should we go? And our father never showed up and told us what to do.

The gospel reading shows us how fragile the condition of Jesus' disciples was after the death of Jesus. Moreover, the nature of his death was unacceptable. Jesus died on the cross as someone who was considered a criminal. Sorrow, sentiment, emptiness, disappointment, grief, anger, and despair are all depicted in the appearance of Jesus on the sea of Tiberias.

After the death of Jesus, the disciples returned to their past profession before becoming his disciples as fishermen. They tried to live a normal life as before. However, their experience as fishers did not enable them to catch many fish that day. Their return to their former professions has reflected their despair, disappointment, and lack of faith as disciples of Jesus.

Disciples lost role models, lost leaders, and faith. Their hope in Jesus had been dashed. The ‘Jesus’ they hoped for as their savior, the Messiah, had died before them. Even Jesus did not fight back and save himself. Their high expectations of Jesus tremendously saddened them. They are like chicks losing their mother.

Their lives became empty, meaningless. They broke up, unsure of their future. They felt restless until Jesus appeared to them.

And they "remembered" when Jesus invited them to cast their nets to the right. Their memory of Jesus was restored when they saw charcoal, fish, and bread, and then he asked them to have breakfast. Excitement enveloped the atmosphere of breakfast that morning. There is an inexpressible joy in the sorrow and grief of the death of Jesus.

The disciples had a "spiritual experience" in which they recognized Jesus present in their midst. It was Jesus who enkindled and gave them new life and hope.

The gospel reading today invites us to see that every suffering can bring happiness and glory if we recognize and unite with God. Jesus teaches us that when life is losing its hope, do not be in despair, that we may see Jesus.

We are invited to ask ourselves, "Do I have any spiritual experiences in my life? What is my spiritual experience?” With this spiritual experience, we will be able to recognize and see God, who is so close to us.

As the second reading tells, this experience with Jesus leads us to live with Him. He will dwell with them; they will be his people, and God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. Morning and the crying and pain will be no more. And in the new heavens and new earth, we will be at home with God" (Rev. 21:4).

 

Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.

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