Luke 24: 1-12
Tonight our Passover Lamb is Risen! Sacrificed in his own blood, He is risen. Notice the reactions of the characters in this passage from Luke. We hear the words: “Puzzling,” “Nonsense,” “Amazed.” In John’s account we 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 seen the Risen Christ. So, we can identify with our gospel ancestors. We don’t yet fully understand this mystery. But we believe and we hope. Notice, it is this hope that makes a grieving Peter run to the tomb. That’s new life. That’s hope.
We are here, along with our four Candidates, because we experience Christ’s Risen life already. Like these gospel characters, we need help in recognizing the Risen One, already in our midst. Notice, the angel exhorts them: “Remember what he said to you.”
We experience the Risen life whenever our heart expands in faith, hope or love; in encouragement and in new energy. The energy of the Risen Christ renews, restores and recreates. This is something the people of Paris are experiencing after Monday’s catastrophic fire in Notre Dame, the building a symbol of themselves. The 24-hour news cycle has been showing us their hope in their determination to rebuild, to renew what is best in their spirit and in the spirit of the Western World. The reaction of people of beyond Paris, beyond the Catholic community, beyond the French nation – indeed, in the determination of people worldwide to rise from this catastrophic loss, manifests the risen life. Christ is alive! He is alive in his people, “the living stones” of Notre Dame. The Cathedral itself, in its ruined state, has been made new; it is a new symbol of faith, hope and charity in the people.
Just as the disciples needed to reflect in order to recognize, so let us reflect and recognize risen life, for example, in someone who has lost a loved one who senses the loved one’s presence. When that bereaved person moves forward, that’s new life, Risen life.
We need practice, as did the disciples, in recognizing such moments when they occur in our own lives. We remember and ponder. In all the post-resurrection accounts, notice, the characters don’t recognize Christ at first. Mary Magdalene thinks he is the gardener. On the road to Emmaus, the disciples recognize him only when he breaks the bread. Later they reflect: “How our hearts were burning.” Where are our hearts are burning? As Notre Dame burned, the hearts of many caught fire. We need to notice our own taking heart and catching fire. Such moments renew our hope. The Risen Christ is there.
Yesterday we remembered the death of the Pascal Lamb. Tonight we receive the blood of the Passover Lamb on our lips, the doorposts of our souls. Tonight, we rejoice and hope in the body and blood of Christ. That’s why the priest “shows it to the people” during the Eucharistic Prayer. In hope, we now prepare to receive, confirm and welcome to the Eucharistic table, for the first time, our four candidates for Reception into Full Communion with the Catholic Church. They are for us living stones, living hope in the Risen Christ who makes all things new.