for Sunday, April 30, 2017
"God raised him up!" "Were not our heats burning within us?" The experiences of these early followers of Jesus was incredible. They went through completely doubt, through denial, through sadness, through lack of hope - and then... Jesus begins to show up in their lives again, not as a memory, but as a living, eating, sleeping and completely present person once more - but not seen by everyone. What an odd experience and how challenging!
This experience of Peter and of others eventually was expressed in these words: "God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses." Even to this day, many doubt and yet many are moved by this witness and believe. Once we believe, our lives are changed because this world no longer is the end of life but only the beginning. For sure, many of believers are not very people at many levels, just as many of the early believers were also weak and uneducated and sometimes social outcasts. But when we believe, this life becomes so different and so full of possibilities of following Jesus.
Our faith and our hope are now in God and life is not a prison nor a place of competition, but simply a time to do the best we can in serving a God who loves us and invites us to strive to live out His love in this world, even if we fail over and over. We always remember the words of Jesus: I came for sinners, not for the righteous.
Inn today's Gospel from Saint Luke, we have the wonderful story of Jesus meeting some of those who had followed Him but were now discouraged by the crucifixion. They did not yet believe in His Resurrection. They even tell Jesus about the women who went to the tomb and did not find the body! They tell Him about others who went to the tomb. Yet, at this point, these people who had followed Him still do not believe! They are like the Apostle Thomas: Unless I myself see Him and touch Him and have an experience, I will not believe!
Lots of us are like these early followers: discouraged when we ourselves do not have some immediate and strong experience of the Lord.
We are invited today to meet the Lord again, almost for the first time, when we see Him present in the breaking of the bread. We are invited to look once more at the Holy Scriptures and discover how God has spoken through all the ages, inviting us to believe, little by little. We are invited to listen to the testimony of those who already believe, and particularly to the testimony of the many saints and martyrs of our own time. As we listen, then perhaps like these followers on the road to Emmaus, we might come to feel the warmth in our heart, perhaps even our hearts burning within us!
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen! Alleluia!
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Acts 2.14, 22b-28
Second Reading: 1 Peter 1.17-21
Gospel: Luke 24.13-35
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: