I didn’t use to spend much time in thinking about the Resurrection. I knew that it was central in our Christian faith and celebrated at Easter. I also knew that the Risen Lord made possible our being given eternal life. But it was as if the benefit or reward of Easter, of life in heaven, lay at some unknowable time in the future. As a consequence, in the living of my daily life the Resurrection did not have a place of great importance. The words of the Mass, “Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free,” I knew to be true but did not understand their meaning. The Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the central moment in human history. The moment in which God changed permanently the course and content of our lives. It is the moment from which we gain “life and life in abundance.” Or as Saint Peter said in the Second Reading, “You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.” These “ways of life” can be seen through the Gospel story of the two disciples and the Risen Lord on the way to Emmaus.
The two disciples were walking to Emmaus, a small village near Jerusalem. They were speaking of the Passion and death of the Lord. We can imagine their confusion and sadness. They had thought that Jesus was a “Prophet mighty in deed and word.” They had hoped that he was the Messiah, “the one to redeem Israel” by liberating them from foreign or Roman occupation. Their thoughts and hopes were not baseless – they had seen and listened to him for several years and all signs indicated that we was indeed the Messiah. And yet, they must have been wrong. Jesus of Nazareth had not freed them from the Romans, rather, the Romans had put him to death. Jesus of Nazareth seemed to be another failure, another false promise. But when the Risen Lord joined their conversation, the hearts of the defeated disciples began to burn with life.
The Risen Lord explained to them that it was “necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and then enter into his glory.” Captivated by his words, they invited him to stay and join them for a meal. The Risen Lord is no longer on the periphery from the two disciples, asking questions and listening to their responses, he is now at the centre, he is the source. When he blesses and breaks the bread, the two disciples were finally able to see who it was among them – “their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.” No longer were they confused or sad. In fact, the Scripture says, at “that same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem.” This means that the very moment they recognized the Risen Lord, and he vanished from their sight, was the moment that they got up to go back to Jerusalem to tell the Apostles and the other disciples. Where now is their confusion, sadness and a fear that made them leave Jerusalem in the first place? When the Risen Lord broke the bread, they recognized both him and who he is. They understood that God’s Kingdom is not about which army occupies a particular land, but that God’s Kingdom occupies our hearts. They understood that in his breaking he is broken for them, that they were “ransomed . . . not by perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.” And, to God’s delight, they understood why he had undergone all these things. Namely, for love. “Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor; so that by his poverty you might become rich.” The Resurrection is everything to us. It isn’t on the periphery but in the centre of our daily lives. It is the source of life because it is not only love, but love eternal.
God Bless and Take Care