What a joyous and tumultuous time!
The Gospel tells us how elation sprang from despair.
In the beautiful story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we hear them elate “Were not our hearts burning within us while He spoke?”
And so it is with our own hearts; with the time of penance behind us and the salvation of Easter upon us, we can share in those disciples’ revelation and joy. Jesus is alive, risen from the dead!
This is the focal point of God’s relationship with mankind, His Son’s victory over death.
As was His manner in His time of preaching, Jesus did not reveal Himself in a grand and public exhibition but rather in private encounters with His disciples.
He is always the shepherd, gathering together the flock, the lost and the doubting to Himself.
He is patient as they are slow to understand the Scriptures that foretold all that had transpired. Reading the Gospel, one can sense the peace that He brings with Him with each encounter.
“Peace be with you” is His greeting, truth and enlightenment are His messages, even using the simple act of eating a piece of fish to assuage the fear and doubt of those who had accepted His death and now must open their hearts to a whole new reality — the everlasting and imperishable nature of life. For Jesus promises that as He has risen, so will we!
It is a culmination of all the years of His preaching, and all the centuries of Scripture.
With His real physical presence among His disciples, all of those truths become comprehensible. What was hidden became real, just as had Jesus Himself.
The future was unknown for them, as it is for each of us. But the reality of the presence of God’s Son here on earth transformed them.
Their lives were elevated from their earthly vocations to a new calling as heralds of the Gospel.
We share in their new vocation as each of us is called to proclaim the truth that God speaks to us as we read the words of the authors of the Gospel.
That truth is much more than the sum of those written words. For as Jesus appeared and patiently enlightened His disciples, He also patiently enlightens us.
Open your hearts, hear His enlightening words as we read the written words.
Let Him be real for you as He was in those days when His pierced feet walked the dusty earth of ancient Israel and His pierced hands reached out to hold all who would hear Him and believe.
Mr. Vogel is a member of Cathedral of St. Joseph parish in Jefferson City.