From a Creighton Student's Perspective
March 29th, 2008
Senior, Theology Major (Pre-Med)
What a time of transition for the apostles. Their fearless leader is no longer with them, and they are mourning the loss of their beloved friend. At this point in the history of Christianity, there are no formal theological concepts like resurrection. All Jesus’ followers know for sure is that he’s gone.
But then Jesus starts reappearing. Who does that? What are the apostles supposed to think? They respond with disbelief. In the Gospel, Jesus first appears to Mary Magdalene, but no one believes her when she retells the story. Next, he appears to two disciples walking along a road and when they return to tell their friends, no one believes them either. Finally, Jesus appears to eleven disciples, chastises them for their disbelief, and bids them to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” We don’t read their response, but I doubt they had a miraculous change of heart, forgot their sorrow, and left the room preaching.
Somewhere between the Gospel and the first reading, the disciples have a change of heart. In the first reading, we find Peter and John being kicked out of the Sanhedrin, the high council of the ancient Jews. They have been spreading the word about Jesus’ life and the elders and leaders were not happy. Eventually they get off without punishment after Peter and John boldly threaten them with talk about salvation. They tell the court, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”
What a change of heart this is from the Gospel reading! No longer are the disciples mourning disbelievers, sitting at home in sorrow and inactivity. Peter and John paint a new picture of bold disciples challenging the religious and social establishment of the day. I wonder how long it took to have that change of heart. Are these two stories several months apart? A year? Several years? Were all the disciples on the same page? How did they get through that time period? Prayer? Did they have big discussions about it? What did their families think?
This idea of transition and change is especially interesting and pertinent for me as I am a graduating senior. In all aspects of my life, I don’t know what the future is going to bring and that scares me to death! I’m a worrier and those tendencies are in full force right now as the calendar speeds towards May 10th (Graduation Day). Most days I want to dig my heels in and slow down life. I can hear myself yelling in protest inside my head, No! I’m not ready for this massive change! I don’t want to leave my home at Creighton! All my friends are going to spread all over the country and I don’t even know what I’m doing next year. But there’s another voice, too. A calm one that reassures me, it’s going to be alright, Sarah. Yes, this is a scary time, but you’re ready to take what you’ve learned and leave. Take a deep breath and enjoy the present, but get ready to LEAP!
I can imagine that the apostles had similar thoughts after Jesus’ death. What were they supposed to do without their leader?? But the readings today show that they not only survived, but they thrived. Today I will keep in mind the example of the apostles. In my own time of transition and change, I will try to focus more on the step right in front of me. I will place my trust in God that the end result will be a good one, even though right now the road is unknown and very scary.
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