Luke 24: 1-12
The resurrection: Notice the reactions of the women, the Apostles and “the others” in this Gospel passage: “Puzzling.” “Nonsense.” “Amazed.” In tomorrow’s gospel from John we will hear “They did not yet understand” (20: 1-9).
They are like us. None of us has yet experienced the resurrection. We have not yet died and risen in the flesh. Not yet. We have not yet seen the Risen Christ face to face. Not yet. So we can identify with our ancestors in the faith. We don’t yet fully understand this mystery. Not yet. But we believe.
We desperately want to believe it is true. We would not be here otherwise on a Saturday night. On Saturday night we would be in a restaurant, a movie theatre, a party, a ball game. But we are here – along with our Candidates. We are here because there is a part of us that does experience the Risen life of Christ already. Like the characters in this account, we need help in recognizing it.
We experience the Risen life as the poet Wordsworth tells us, “along the heart.” We experience it in hope, in encouragement and in new energy. Notice this hope makes Peter [and John] run. Someone who has lost a loved one through death experiences a sense of the loved one’s presence. That’s new life. It lifts them. Someone who has lost someone, after a period of grieving, can move forward. That’s new life. That’s the Risen life. We live in hope. Yes, we experience it in the breaking of bread of the Eucharist. In the Eucharist we receive the dying and the rising of the Lord, the Glorified Lord. That’s also why the priest ‘shows it to the people’ during the consecration.
The energy of the Risen Christ renews, restores, recreates.
We need practice, as did the disciples, in recognizing these moments when they occur. Notice in all the post-resurrection accounts we will be hearing this Eastertide: at first they didn’t recognize Christ. Mary Magdalene thought he was the gardener. And on the road to Emmaus, they only recognized him when he broke the bread. Later they notice how their hearts had been burning as he was talking to them. We need to notice these moments of encouragement, of taking heart. Christ, the Risen Christ, is there. Moments like these renew our hope. We live in hope. [In hope we now prepare to receive and confirm and welcome them among us with the Risen Christ in our midst. Yesterday was a day for lamentation. Tonight/Today is a night for hope. Tonight we rejoice in hope!]