In this week's episode of the "Life, Love, & Light" podcasts, we go in depth to examine the stories of Christ's resurrection appearances: to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary in the gospel of Matthew; to Magdalene alone in the gospel of John; and to the two disciples, possibly husband and wife, on the road to Emmaus in the gospel of Luke. We realize that the weeping and disconsolate Magdalene did not recognize Jesus in the garden until he "called her name" and that the two disciples only recognized that the Stranger on the road was Jesus in "the breaking of the bread." We realize how imperative it is for us to recognize Jesus when he calls our own name in deep prayer (or through the loving voice of someone else), and when we hear him speak to us through Scripture and receive him in Eucharistic fellowship. We consider that we must grow more and more consciously aware that Jesus walks along the road of our lives with us and within us, with every step we take. We also examine the two different stories, in Luke and John, of Jesus' appearances to the disciples and their companions in the Upper Room. And finally, we enter into the story of the doubting disciple, Thomas. In reflecting on this scene, we ask: Did Thomas believe that Jesus was truly God (and therefore could rise from the dead) because he saw him . . . or was he empowered to see who Jesus actually was because he came to believe in him?
All the stories of the resurrection appearances were written to enliven and strengthen the faith of the community of early Christians who were enduring great trials and for Christians who would believe and suffer throughout time. Indeed, we are enduring great trials right now. But we also see signs of resurrection because good people everywhere are responding so generously to the crises in our world. As in the gospels, these signs are meant to encourage us as well. These signs bear a message of light, hope, and courage: no matter how dire things get, because Christ is resurrected, he has overcome suffering, death, and everything else that could destroy us.
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