MMB – Caernarfon at Eastertide.
The Lord is Risen! [33-35]
That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem, and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon’.
Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Hurrying back to Jerusalem they find that they are not the only ones who have had their grief and despair turned so suddenly and mysteriously into wonder and joy and new found faith: The Lord is risen!
There are two things to notice here.
- The first is the transformation of these grieving, fearful men and women into joyful witnesses, eager to tell others what has happened, to spread the Good News/Gospel.
- The other is the Good News itself: that Jesus, who was crucified, died and was buried, has been raised from the dead. Death has been shown to have no power over him. The powers that had opposed him and what he stood for had seemed to triumph when they had him crucified. And now they are shown to have been powerless: it is God and God’s way that has triumphed.
- The joy now being experienced by the disciples transforms them into true disciples, responding once more to the call to ‘follow me’, and doing so now fully aware of what it means: ‘take up your cross and follow me’.
- And they now know where that will take them: not just back to Jerusalem and the community of disciples, but that community—the Church—must now ‘take up the cross’ and live the way of the cross, which means choosing the path of forgiveness and reconciliation over every form of violence, strong in faith because freed from the fear of death.
What is this like for us today?
We can perhaps first of all reflect on our own personal experience of having been on this journey, and take our bearings on where we find ourselves.
- The call to discipleship is addressed to each of us personally: Unless you take up your cross and follow me you cannot be my disciple’. The journey of faith will have its own story which no one but ourselves can know or tell. And it will have its own stages—detours and delays—which only we can know.
- And so we may find ourselves a little short of the finish, of the joyful transformation experienced by the two disciples. It could also be that we can remember having been there or somewhere close to it, and have since lost ground… That’s OK, it’s very much part of the journey, the Way of the Cross. What matters is that we hold onto the assurance given us that we are not alone: the one who calls us to follow him is always there, walking with us, even though ‘our eyes might be held’ and we do not recognise him.But we need also to make a practical, down-to-earth assessment of what it means to have made this journey in faith and now to find ourselves, at the end of it, ‘going back to Jerusalem’, the ‘Church community’ of which we are part.
- What are we bringing with us? How can we ‘make a difference’? Where to start…?
- It is worth remembering that the two disciples didn’t know what it was going to be like when they returned to Jerusalem. What if nothing had changed and they found the other disciples still huddled in fear?
- But such thoughts and fears seem not to have entered their heads. They just wanted to tell what had happened to them, to share their joy and the new life that had been given to them. Nothing else mattered but to let their friends, and everyone, know the Good News that Jesus has been raised from the dead and is with us, making everything new ‘in God’s name’.