It’s not easy to believe in the risen Jesus. In the final analysis it’s something that can only be captured and understood from the faith that Jesus himself awakens in us. If we never experience «from within» the peace and joy that Jesus sows, it’s difficult to find proofs of his resurrection «from the outside».
Luke tells us something about this when he describes the meeting of the risen Jesus with the group of disciples. They’re a mixture of everything. Two disciples are telling what they recognized when they ate with him in Emmaus. Peter says that Jesus has appeared to him. The majority haven’t had any such experience yet. They don’t know what to think.
At that point «Jesus appears in their midst and says: “Peace be with you”». The most important part of awakening our faith in the risen Jesus is to be able to sense his presence in our midst even today, and to share in our groups, communities, and parishes the peace, joy and security that comes from knowing he lives, accompanying us closely in these times when nothing comes easy for faith.
Luke’s story is very realistic. Jesus’ presence doesn’t magically transform the disciples. Some are frightened and «believe that they are seeing a ghost». Within others «arise doubts» of all kinds. There are those who «can’t believe their eyes out of such joy». Others continue «astounded».
This is what still happens today. Faith in the risen Christ isn’t born automatically and firmly in us. It goes about awakening our heart in fragile and humble ways. At the beginning, it’s almost just a desire. Ordinarily it grows surrounded by doubts and questions: can so great a truth really be possible?
According to the story, Jesus stays, eats with them and takes time to «open up their understanding» so they can comprehend what has happened. He wants them to be changed into «witnesses», who can speak from their experience, and preach not just any old way, but «in his name».
To believe in the Risen One doesn’t happen in a day. It’s a process that sometimes can last years. What’s important is our inner attitude. Trust always in Jesus. Give him much more room within us and within our Christian communities.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf