THE RESURRECTION: A REALITY MORE THAN A VISION
Beloved in Christ, it is significant to observe from the passage that the resurrection totally took the disciples by suprise. In spite of all forewarnings that christ had given them, it seems to have been the last thing they expected. This is the reason why not even emerging facts were enough to convince them. Inspite of the ealier witnesses, the women who went to the grave and came back to tell them that he was no longer in the grave and that an angel had told then that he was alive, they did not know what to make out of these facts. Even in this particular encounter related to us in today’s gospel, we can see that vision alone was not enough to sway them. This is why Christ asked them to touch him and see that their experience was a concrete one. Yes, he was not a ghost, an illustrative apparition, a mirage or a hallucination. He even had to invite them to give him to eat to let it sink down into them that their experience with him was real. The fact of eating food before them was necessary to convince them that what was happening between him and them was not a dream. He did not want them to wonder at the end of it whether this encounter with him happened in reality or whether it was a collective dream. When they fail to see him after this encounter and rise to wonder what had happened, they would still discover that the food he took from them was no longer with them. If they were all in a dream, if they were all engaged in collective hallucination, the physical food they had with them before that encounter would still be there when they wake from their collective hallucination. But when they discover that the physical food they had with them was gone, and that it was the Christ who met them that took it, it would be proof to them that their encounter with him was for real.
Beloved in Christ, it’s important for our faith that we observe this initial reluctance of the apostles to accept the story of the resurrection. It means we cannot refer to them as an overly gullible pack. The gospel records tell us that they were not acting on instinct when they went about preaching the resurrection of Christ. It was confrontation with hard facts that brought them to conviction which they went about preaching.
Our faith in the resurrection is not built upon such a delusion. We ought to note that at the end of Christ’s encounter with his disciples he told them: you are witnesses to this. And the apostles lived up to this statement. They became true witnesses of the resurrection. It is because they were convinced without doubt that Christ was risen indeed that they became the witnesses he challenged them to become: witnesses who would undertake everything and anything to make others share in their experience as we saw in the first reading which was read out to us within this mass. In that text, when in excitement a crowd built around Peter after he had cured the cripple at the beautiful gate, he spoke fearlessly to them. He confronted them with their crime of crucifixion of Christ, not fearing that they could rise against him and visit him with the same fate. He was not afraid to face any torture because he had seen in christ that physical torture does not alinate one from God. He had learnt from christ that one could die in this physical world and yet triumph. The resurrection changed the entire attitude of the apostles to life. This is what being witnesses of the resurrection meant for the apostles. It made them build their life around the life of Christ and understand life from Christ’s perspective.
Beloved in christ, our re-enactment of the resurrection at Easter is supposed to work the same effect in us. It is supposed to turn us into witnesses of the resurrection. It is supposed to turn us into witnesses of the resurrection. It is supposed to make us look at life from christ’s perspective and not from the perspective of gullible preachers and narrators. Christ does not call on us to belive anything and everything but to look at the life and faith of the apostles and share in their life and faith.
PEACE BE WITH YOU………