The resurrection. Life after death. Eternal communion with God and one another. This crucial teaching reminds us of what is at stake in the battlefield of our souls – the opportunity for everlasting life with the peace, joy and love of Jesus Christ. I want to be there, and I want you to join me!
Jesus announces that he will be handed over, and the disciples are afraid to ask him any questions about it. The fact is, the Lord embraces the Cross to free us from our sins…inspiring us not to be afraid but to draw near Him in faith.
Jesus revives a dead man and returns him to his widowed mother in the sight of a large crowd. This powerful miracle anticipates the Lord’s resurrection that we might be restored in our relationship with God. A powerful miracle, indeed!
When a grain of wheat falls to the ground it dies, and through this sacrifice of itself it begets new life. Our sacrifices – when directed by the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ – can also become a rich offering to the Lord, who will change and transform us with his gift of life.
The Gospel of John recounts how Mary Magdalene was the first to meet the Risen Lord. Her conversion and witness inspire us: no matter what our past has been, God’s grace can touch our hearts and change our lives!
The readings this week are filled with power and zeal. The resurrection of Jesus inspires the early Church, and their encounter with the Risen Lord in the breaking of the bread testifies to the enduring grace we receive every time we come to Mass. Take a look:
1st Reading – Peter boldly proclaims the Good News to the crowd
Psalm – “Lord, you will show us the path of life.”
2nd Reading – the resurrection renews us to live by God’s grace
Gospel – Jesus explains the Scriptures and is made known in the breaking of the bread
A pattern emerges: an encounter with the Risen Lord changes our lives in dynamic and life-giving ways. Peter is no longer timid or afraid to stand up for Christ; Christians conduct themselves with faith and hope; the disciples have their minds opened and hearts burning as Jesus is present to them in the breaking of the bread.
It is the depth of this change that bears close inspection. These people are renewed and empowered with a strength and conviction that can inspire us today. They burn with the flame of faith, and through the example and witness of their lives the Gospel message will spread like wildfire.
This is our task today. As we look to the early Church, we acknowledge that NOTHING was easy for them. Their trust in God put them in the path of tremendous obstacles, trials and persecutions. And yet with God’s grace their triumphed…and we can, too.
I’d like to suggest a simple two-step process:
Where do we encounter the Lord in our lives today?
How can we invite others to experience what gives us life?
The first question requires us to pause and reflect on the prayers, sacraments, fellowship and other life-giving activities that renew our hearts. The second question challenges us to step out in faith and invite those we know and love to encounter the Risen Lord. May the faith of the early Church inspire us to proclaim the Good News with passion and joy!