Christ Is Risen and Goes Before Us
“Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away from the tomb quickly, fearful yet overjoyed ,,,” (Matt 28:8).
The first week after Easter presents us with appearance stories from all four gospels: Mary of Magdala encounters Jesus at the tomb; two disciples on the road to Emmaus meet a stranger and learn the meaning of Jesus’ suffering and death; the assembled apostles see, touch and eat with Jesus; some disciples rendezvous with Jesus by the Sea of Tiberias.
These varied accounts tell us that the early church struggled to grasp the implications of this astounding event, which seems to have pierced the time-space continuum and revealed a new meaning and purpose for the world and for human existence in God’s eternal plan.
The church devotes 50 days for us to reflect on this mystery and its implications for us. Our risen Lord is now in the world, so the question for us is how and where can we find him to share in his redemptive life and work? If Jesus is especially with the poor and the oppressed, as he told us he would be (Matt 25), how do we accompany and serve them in the struggle for a more just, peaceful and loving world?
Like the first disciples, we are called to overcome our fears and doubts, open our eyes to Jesus as he walks on the road with us. We will find him in the scriptures and in the breaking of the bread, and we will recognize, touch and eat with him in our faith communities. This is how the resurrection will become real in us and for those who witness our faith in action.
The world will try to go back to business as usual, but this is no longer possible for us. Everything is changed. We are changed by the promise of new life won for us by Jesus. Each day he turns to us and says, “Come, follow me." By his grace we can change the direction of history, the fate of the earth, and the structures and attitudes that resist God’s will for our world today.
Easter is not a single Sunday but way of life, a daily process of transformation that will bring us both human maturity and the assurance of a divine destiny -- life in God. This is the joy of the Gospel. This the day the Lord as made. Let us be glad and rejoice in it!