Wednesday, April 23, 2014

We Have Seen the Risen Lord

By Colleen O’Sullivan
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.  He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?”  They stopped, looking downcast.  One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?”  And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”  (They reported on the events of the preceding week.)  And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!  How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!  Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”  Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures… (Jesus stopped to eat the evening meal with them.)  And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.  With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.  Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”  (Luke 24:15-17, 25-27, 30-32)

 Christ is risen.  Alleluia.  Alleluia.

It’s Sunday, but it may as well still be Friday for Cleopas and his fellow disciple.  Shattered and despairing, they are leaving Jerusalem behind, all their hopes nailed to a cross and then hastily buried in a borrowed tomb.  Grieving, with no idea what they are going to do, and maybe not even caring, they steadily put one foot in front of the other.

We’ve all trekked through that valley of the shadow of death – wondering what we will do now that we’ve buried a beloved family member or friend, lost a job, been diagnosed with a serious illness, or found ourselves alone in an empty house, our marriage over.  We know all too well the journey of fear and uncertainty that Luke describes in today’s Gospel reading.

But then the Risen Lord appears!  It is Easter.  It turns out that death is not the end.  Everything is transformed.  After despair there is hope.  After sadness there is the promise of joy.  There is new life after each of the dyings we experience.  And we realize there is no path we take in this life so obscure or hidden that Jesus cannot find it.  He comes to us wherever we are and walks beside us, revealing himself and his inimitable love for us. 

Once Cleopas and his friend recognize their travel companion, they reverse direction and hurry back to Jerusalem.  They are bursting to share the good news with the other disciples.  Our Lord lives!  We have seen him!

Wherever you go this week, joyfully ring out the Easter alleluias for all to hear.

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