The following story appeared in the April 16 Idaho Catholic Register.
By Padre Enrique Terriquez
Third Sunday of Easter
Christ is Risen! That is the testimony of the Apostles who lived with Jesus of Nazareth. Peter, the head of the Church, declared from Jerusalem in the Book of Acts: “The crucified has risen.”
The Solemn Easter Vigil annually echoes this triumph of Christ over death. In the Exultet we hear proclaimed: “Let angel ministers of God exult … Let all the corners of the Earth be glad … Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice, arrayed with the lightning of His glory … O truly blessed night, when things of heaven are wed to those of earth, and divine to the human.”
The feast of Easter began from that early morning on Resurrection Sunday when “it was still dark” (the darkness of death, fear, doubts in the symbol-ism of Saint John the Evangelist). The darkness began to dissipate at the moment in which Mary Magdalene discovers that the stone of the tomb was rolled away. The light and the truth that is Christ began to become a reality for her and the disciples. The transforming action of the resurrection began to be visible in the disciples who were previously divided, selfish, and frightened, but are now reunited around the Risen Jesus.
The Gospel writers share that, for some, it was not easy to believe in the resurrection. St. Luke, in this reading for the Third Sunday of Easter, tells of some disciples who escape to Emmaus, their hopes for a Messiah dashed after the death of Jesus. But, later they return, filled with joy for having recognized Him “in the breaking of bread.”
After the disciples to whom Jesus appeared share their joy with the other believers, they are surprised to see that Jesus appears to them once again. After calming their fears, He begins to explain the meaning of His death and resurrection. It was not easy for the disciples to believe in the Risen One. Despite all their talk about Jesus, when He does appear to them they think He is a ghost. “Why are you troubled and why do questions arise rise in your hearts?,” Jesus asks them. (Luke 24:38)
After being resurrected, Jesus continues His process of forming the disciples in their faith. Now the Master instructs them about the impact of the resurrection not only on Himself, but also for them and all who will believe after them. He teaches them that the resurrection is about transformation, as St. Paul later writes in his letter to the Romans: “We were indeed buried with Him through baptism into death so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in the newness of life.” (Romans 6:4) In His instruction to the disciples, Jesus draws on the scriptures (Luke 24:45) to instill confidence in them regarding the fulfillment of God’s promises in Christ. He does this because He is going to send them out to proclaim the Good News.
Believing in the Risen One is not a one-time thing, but an inner process that continues throughout our lives. Our union with the Risen Jesus is not an illusion; it is something real that transforms our way of being. It is not just a theory, but a concrete, vital experience that motivates our lives.
The different accounts of the appearances of the Risen Jesus clearly say that the encounter with Him is not one that will be silenced. Those who have experienced the fullness of Jesus’ life will feel the need to tell others about it. The believer’s life “infects” the lives of others. He or she is not silent. He or she becomes a witness.
We should ask ourselves if the witness of our lives announce the resurrection.
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