Three guys had an accident and went straight to heaven. When they got there, St. Peter said, "We only have one rule in heaven. Don't step on the ducks!"  They entered heaven and sure enough there were ducks all over the place. It was almost impossible not to step on a duck and although they tried their best to avoid them the first guy accidentally stepped on one.

Along came St. Peter with the homeliest woman he ever saw. St. Peter chained them together and said, "Your punishment for stepping on a duck is to spend forever chained to this homely woman". 

The next day, the second guy stepped accidentally on a duck and along came St. Peter, who didn't miss a thing, and with him was another extremely homely woman. He chained them together with the same admonishment as the first. 

The third guy had observed all this and not wanting to be chained forever to a horrible looking woman was very careful where he stepped. He managed to go for months without stepping on any ducks. Then one day, St. Peter came up to him with the most gorgeous woman he had ever laid eyes on. St. Peter chained them together without saying a word. 

The guy remarked, "I wonder what I did to deserve being chained to you forever?"  She replied, "I don't know about you, but I stepped on a duck"! 

There are two questions from the One who has the answer, “Why are you troubled?” and “Why do questions arise in your hearts?”  There are two answers to those questions, “Look at my hands and feet” and “Touch me and see.”

Jesus knew his disciples will always be troubled.  It was natural for them to believe in a god who could not suffer.  It was human for them to hope in a god who could not be in pain.  It was typical for them to love a god who could not be pushed around.

Just like us.  We do not like to suffer.  We do not want pain.  We despise being pushed around.  And yet, why are we troubled?

Jesus knew that there will always be questions arising from the hearts of his disciples.  If Thomas had some doubts, perhaps other disciples had their own skepticisms, too.  If Peter went fishing even after witnessing an empty tomb, perhaps other disciples went back to what they had previously been doing even after Jesus had risen.  If the disciples were previously questioning where all this crucifixion and death lead to, perhaps others were also asking what the tragedy and shock of Good Friday accomplished and achieved.

Just like us.  Questions arise in our hearts when we cannot understand a loving God in the midst of the negativity and suffering we see around us.  We doubt and sometimes we wonder whether God really cares when it seems our prayers remain unanswered.  Whenever we are disappointed with our lives and disillusioned by how they turned out, we will always have our own questions and doubts.

However, what separates us from those who gave up easily with the difficult questions they faced is the reality that behind every disappointment, disillusionment and doubt is a God who simply wants us to look and touch him.  That was his response to all the troubles the disciples had.

If we want our questions answered, if we want to have a better understanding of our lives, if our troubles have to dissipate and our burdens to lighten, we need only to look at him and touch him.

Just look for a moment.  The operative word is look.  Look around, look behind, look inside and look up. Look at the hands and feet of our Lord.  All the bruises and wounds he had, all the injuries and disfigurement he bore and all the scars and trauma he endured manifest one single reality—that there is a loving God. 

When we look at those hands and feet, we see the reasons for our pain and suffering.  When we touch those hands and feet, we sense the meaning of our faith.  It is not difficult to look at the people God has given for us to care for and love in return.  It is not hard to touch people who are themselves the blessings that we need.

Behind every looking and touching is a great feeling of being loved and being remembered.  Our family, our friends, our faith and our lives are the hands and feet of Jesus that we need to look and touch.

Look at what Jesus wants us to do.  Touch his hands and his feet and there find the meaning and secret of real happiness.  When he gave his life for us, we found ourselves looking with him, touching through him and seeing in him the fragments of forever without even stepping on any single duck.

 22 April 2012

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