The Resurrection of Christ is our faith and our hope. If Christ has not been raised, our faith is pointless (cf. 1 Cor 15:17). But Christ is risen; therefore our faith is meaningful, and we are a people of hope. There cannot be anything that gives more meaning and purpose to our lives than the Resurrection of Christ. Today’s three readings stress the centrality and the importance of the Resurrection.
In today’s first reading, St. Peter, an eyewitness, someone who saw Jesus Christ after he rose from the dead, gives a solid explanation of the reality of the Resurrection. Peter supports his explanation with what is written in the Scriptures. He is making sure that all those who did not witness the Resurrection – like us today – may come to a deeper faith in the fact that Christ truly rose. Against those who do not believe that that Jesus Christ really rose from death, Peter explains what David wrote, under the influence of the Holy Spirit: “you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption.” This was not about David himself; it was about Christ! Hence St. Peter says, “My brothers, one can confidently say to you about the patriarch David that he died and was buried, and his tomb is in our midst to this day. But since he was a prophet …, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld nor did his flesh see corruption. God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses.”
Jesus came into this world to reveal God to us and to save us. St. Peter urges us to place our faith and hope in him. We have been given a new identity through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is an event that must not be isolated from his sacrificial death. What we are celebrating is that Christ, the true Passover Lamb, shed his blood for us, died for us and rose for us that we may have life. Through the shedding of his blood, he obtained redemption for us. Thus, St. Paul writes: “For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Co 5:7-8).
St. Peter invites us in today’s second reading to remain mindful of this great truth: “you were ransomed from your futile conduct … not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb.” What an expensive life we now have! We have been purchased at the cost of the Precious Blood of Jesus! Knowing that our salvation costs this much, Peter urges us to conduct ourselves “with reverence during the time of our sojourning,” for the Father judges everyone’s work impartially.
The time of our sojourning here on earth is fraught with difficulties and challenges which can lead us down the wrong path. When our faith weakens, we can lose sight of the Risen Lord who journeys with us. This was the sad experience of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, as we read in today’s Gospel. They were dejected and had lost faith in God. Going to Emmaus seemed like a good idea to them, but they were simply going in a wrong direction. Even when Jesus came to walk with them, they could not recognize him because they were too focused on what they thought was a failure. When we are in a state of despondency, it is hard to recognize the presence of God with us.
The risen Lord did not abandon them but walked with them and opened their hearts to the light of the Scriptures. Through the word of God, he prepared them to fully recognize him who is the source of life. As today’s Responsorial Psalm says: “Lord, you will show us the path of life.” Indeed, Jesus showed them the path of life; when they recognized him in “the breaking of the bread” – the Eucharist – they returned to the right path and rushed back to Jerusalem, to the Church, to the community of believers.
In the Eucharistic celebration, we encounter the Risen Lord who opens our hearts and prepares us through his word in the Scriptures so that we will be able to encounter him in the “breaking of bread.” Christ truly speaks to us through the readings and truly makes himself present in the Eucharist, and he wants us to recognize him. He wants not only to show us the path of life, but also to walk with us on the path. During his earthly ministry, there were times when Jesus did not want to be recognized, but after the Resurrection, he wants us all to recognize him in the breaking of the bread and to share in his risen life, together with the whole Church, through the Eucharist.
Do I feel dejection when everything in my life seems a failure and going in the wrong direction like the disciples going to Emmaus felt? When I feel that my faith is weak, do I seek consolation in the Scriptures? Am I in awe every time I ponder on the truth that my redemption was purchased at the cost of the Precious Blood of Jesus?
Excerpt from The Anawim Way, Volume 16, no. 4. More information about The Anawim Way may be found here.