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(Part 48)


April 12, 2012
Today’s gospel: Luke 24:35-48

Jesus tells his disciples, and thus us, “You are witnesses of these things.” (Lk 24:48). What things? Everything about Jesus’ life and mission, culminating in his sacrificial death on the cross and then his resurrection. “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” (Lk 24:44).

Today we not only have the Mosaic law and the books of the prophets and the book of Psalms, but we have the New Testament, the Church and her Magisterium, the writings of saints and Church Fathers through the centuries, the interventions of Mama Mary, and our own Christian community and its servant leaders. We just need to open our eyes, ears, minds and hearts.

How does this happen?

First, we must have a deep intimate personal relationship with Jesus. He is risen. He is alive. He is at work in our day-to-day lives. He walks with us. We are not “seeing a ghost.” (Lk 24:37b). Though we cannot anymore “touch (him) and see” (Lk 24:39b), we know that Jesus is the crucified Christ who is risen. “Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.” (Lk 24:39a). We already know how much he loves us. Now we need to get into the depth of that love. We are a people that pray.

Second, we must be a people of the book, the Bible. We must read and reflect on the Bible every day, and then have other times of more structured study. This is how we know what Jesus spoke and what is written about him. In this, we look to the Spirit of Jesus to enlighten our minds and to convict our hearts. “Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.” (Lk 24:45).

Third, we must know that Jesus is in our midst, whenever two or more are gathered in his name. Jesus “stood in their midst” (Lk 24:36b). This is the blessing of being a Christian family and a Christian community. We are the people of God. Our homes are pieces of Kingdom ground. The community is the very body of Christ. We must work hard to renew and strengthen our family life, and be faithful to the life and mission of our community.

Fourth, Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He says to all, “Peace be with you.” (Lk 24:36c). Jesus brings peace, and so we must never again be “startled and terrified” (Lk 24:37a) about anything. Jesus asks us, “Why are you troubled?” (Lk 24:38a). Rather than being startled or terrified or troubled, we must always be “incredulous for joy and .... amazed” (Lk 24:41a). Further, we must work hard at unity amidst our diversity. We must strive to be of one heart and one mind, in order that God can use us for the one life and mission.

Fifth, looking to Jesus as the risen Messiah, we must know the process by which God works in the world. There is Good Friday before Easter Sunday. “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day” (Lk 24:46). There is death before life. There is falling to the ground and dying before producing much fruit. Suffering for the cause of Christ is purifying and salvific. Lamentations precede restoration and rejoicing.

Sixth, we are called to massive evangelization. But we do this one person at a time, in the ordinary day-to-day contacts and circumstances of our life. Our work of evangelization then goes in ever-widening circles -- from the individual to the couple to the family to the community to the larger society to the nation to the world. The good news “would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Lk 24:47).

Seventh, we partake of the Eucharist. Want to really know Jesus? Want to really live Christ? Jesus is “made known to them in the breaking of the bread.” (Lk 24:35b). The Eucharist is at the very core of our life as Catholics. Jesus literally enters into us, the temples of his Holy Spirit. At every Mass, Jesus “(shows us) his hands and his feet.” (Lk 24:40). He relives for us his great love. By frequent reception of Jesus at Communion, we are well on our way to becoming like him, and to be holy unto the Lord.

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