Sunday Reflection

Opening our hearts

Second Sunday of Easter - 11 April 2021

Walking around a shopping centre and it’s easy to find a shop or a stall that sells scented candles, incense, burners and diffusers along with essential oils. Often there is a strong scent of lavender which for many people has an immediate calming effect. As one breathes in the lavender, a sense of peace can consume our bodies.

Quite a few people also have these items at home or at their workplaces to help them relax and bring a sense a calm and peace. Many also like to escape to spas and seaside resorts to help them recover from the stress of their daily lives.

However, even after a few days in the most tranquil resort, there must be a return to the grind and sometimes harsh reality of daily life. The joyous peace, unfortunately, has to end. One cannot stay in paradise forever. 

But that’s exactly what is being offered to us every day and, in fact, every moment. Not in scented candles or lavender oil, and not in an expensive resort but in the middle of the harsh reality and struggles of our everyday lives. And what is being offered is not a fleeting feeling of peace but a deeper, more grounded peace. A peace that goes beyond the sense of sight, smell and sound to the very core of our living and our very being.

Jesus appears to his disciples in the midst of their deepest and darkest fears. The disciples had locked themselves in a room, just as we can sometimes lock ourselves up when we feel threatened or afraid. The disciples had closed themselves off from the rest of the world out of fear.

But Jesus walks through the locked doors and walls of that deep, dark fear and says to the disciples, “Peace be with you.” Likewise, Jesus walks through the locked doors and walls of our fear and anxiety and says to us, “Peace be with you.”

And just as Jesus showed his hands and his feet to the disciples after his crucifixion, so too he is showing and telling us that he understands our fears and anxieties. He knows our deepest pains and struggles for he experienced those very feelings himself.

We are not alone in our struggles. Jesus has come to walk with us. Just as Good Friday became Easter Sunday, we too will overcome our worst fears and pain. Jesus is with us to open up the door of our fears and to break down the walls that have locked us in and kept others out.

Life is not meant to be lived in fear and anxiety. There is a greater reality to life that reaches beyond our daily struggles. The reality is that if we open our hearts, Jesus will be with us always. “Peace be with you.”

Mark Chia CSsR

© Majellan Media 2021

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