“Christ is risen; why do you believe this”, asked the preacher of his congregation? Luke’s account of Easter Sunday gives us insight into how the first Christians came to believe this and how we too will deepen our faith in the Risen Christ.
When the women announced that, they had been told Jesus “had been raised”, the eleven and all the others were convinced that “their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them.”
At this point Luke introduces us to a couple who were on The Way to Emmaus.
“Now that very day two of them (his disciples) were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem.” Along The Way they converse with a stranger. They tell him all about “Jesus of Nazareth who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God.” He was crucified and some women reported that “he was alive .. but we did not see him.”
We are all familiar with how the story on the road to Emmaus unfolds. Jesus goes to great lengths to explain how the Scriptures relate to him. “Were not our hearts burning (within us) while he spoke to us on The Way and opened the scriptures to us.” Luke is using this story to teach his community and us the importance of the Scriptures in their spirituality. Four times he repeats this lesson.. (27, 32, 44, 45) We, too, are encouraged to visit the Word of God, frequently.
Do I experience, Christ Risen, in my life? Yes! A two year old girl was struck down with polio. Mary never ran, jumped, danced or skipped. With great courage she overcame her challenges. One day, on opening the Book of Genesis, she read, “Truly, the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” (Gen 28: 16) A whole new joy entered her life. “My heart was burning as he opened the word to me,’ became her prayer. Mary’s struggles now had meaning.
“He took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened.” The Eucharist is the second corner stone of our spiritual lives. Vatican ll tells us:
The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures just as she venerates the body of the Lord, since from both the Word of God and the Body of Christ she unceasingly receives and offers the faithful the bread of Life. (21)
Doubt continues to hinder the disciples from coming to the realisation that, the risen Jesus is active in their lives. In response to Jesus’ greeting, “Peace be with you,” “They were still incredulous.”
“Everything about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”
Look at the transformation that takes place in them. “They returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising God.” This is the change that we will experience as we receive the Body and Blood of Christ at the table of the Word and the table of the Body of Christ. (Verbum Domini 56)