Thursday in the Easter Octave
Acts 3: 11-26; Luke 24: 35-48
Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen! During these days following the resurrection, it is important that we keep our focus on the power of God at work in Christ and in His Body, the Church. The power that raised Christ from the dead is at work in the Church, bringing all the children of Adam and Eve to newness of life in Christ. As disciples of the Risen One, we need to remember that all power that works through us comes from the Lord and all the glory is His. Recall the words of the Psalmist: “Not to us, O Lord, but to your name be the glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness” (Ps. 115:1). All the good that we do as members of the Body of Christ are done by the power at work in Christ, it is all gift and none of it is ours to claim as our own. Christ is risen, and because He lives we have been made heirs of the Kingdom.
Because Christ is risen, we have no reason for our hearts to be troubled nor need we live in anxiety. He Who descended into the depths of Sheol knows the dark passages of our souls and calls us forth into the Kingdom of Light. The stone could not keep Jesus in the tomb; the bolts and latches could not keep Jesus out of the upper room where the disciples met; and our defense mechanisms cannot keep Jesus from encountering us. The Risen Lord stands in our midst and shows us the marks of the Father’s love and the proof of His mercy. Just as the feast of Passover celebrates Israel’s liberation from slavery, the Easter Feast celebrates our liberation from sin and death. Through the mystery of the resurrection we come face to face with human reality. In order to be set free, we need to acknowledge our slavery. In order to be forgiven, we must acknowledge our sins. In order to enter into newness of life, we must acknowledge our mortality.
The gospel recounts how Jesus encountered His disciples in their doubt and grief. He acknowledges their fear as real and reasonable, but does not allow them to remain there. He proceeds to show them and us that just as His death and burial were real, so too is His risen body. The Resurrection is not a fable and Jesus Christ is truly risen from the dead. The fact that He showed Himself to the disciples was the cause for their joy and this fact is the anchor of our hope. We live in the memory of the Apostles’ witness. Like them, we eat and drink with the risen Lord at the Table of the Eucharist. By partaking of the One Bread and the One Cup, our lives are “hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). With the Apostles, we wait in hope for the day when we will appear with Him in glory. Christ is risen from the dead and by death He has trampled death and to those in the tomb He granted life.