Transitions are difficult moments in our lives. Whenever we come to the end of something in our life, we face the challenge of letting go of what is familiar, of plunging into the unknown. Letting go is hard. No less, beginning again is hard, even when the new reality is something to which we've been looking forward for a long time. As anyone who has worked their way through a 12-step recovery program knows, there is no other way: all we can do is “let go and let God”, living life “one day at a time!”
Jesus tells His disciples that the sheep recognize the voice of the shepherd, that they run away from strangers. Even today, during the season of Easter there is a buzz in the sheepfold, a barely contained excitement: the Shepherd walks among us. We can feel Him as He draws near, gathering the children for their First Communion and clearing a way for them to the table. We can hear His gentle murmuring as He speaks to each of us, calling us by our name. Sometimes we feel so clumsy, struggling to carry out His wishes, falling prey to daily inconveniences and frustrations. But He comforts us with a touch, a word, a smile.
Today’s Gospel invites us to reflect on our life as a journey. Like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, we may be running away from something that seems too heavy to bear: grief, disappointments, fears, tragedies like the Nova Scotia massacre, everything surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
On this octave of Easter, the Gospel reveals to us a saving encounter. Peter and John have seen the empty tomb. Mary Magdalene has seen the Lord, and runs to tell the good news to the other disciples. You would think they would be out celebrating. But they are not. Afraid of the same authorities who had put their Lord and Teacher to death, they are in lockdown: hiding behind locked doors, afraid to let anyone in.