In today's Scripture readings, we hear about a lot of astonishing things. In our Gospel reading from Luke, we have the familiar and uplifting account of the encounter between the Risen Jesus and two disciples on their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus. The two do not recognize Jesus. They have heard stories about an empty tomb and a vision of angels telling others that Jesus was alive, but they are leaving Jerusalem in dismay, believing that their hopes in Jesus have been dashed. But Jesus interprets the Scriptures for them so that they can see how the Messiah would first have to suffer before entering "into his glory." Later, when they are about to eat, they recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread, and He disappears from their sight!
In our reading from Acts, Peter and John come upon a beggar who is crippled, and Peter says to him, "I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk." Peter then takes the man by the hand, and he walks!
For me, these readings remind us that we need not have lived in ancient Israel when Jesus lived on earth to have an intimate relationship with Him. We can hear Him speak to us in the Scriptures. We can encounter Him in a special way in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist. We can be with Him in prayer, and we can grow closer to Him as we follow Him.
Like Peter and John, we can share what we have with those in need. We can share the love and grace we have been given in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. Like Peter, we can take people by the hand and help lift them up! And when we do this, we grow closer to Jesus Himself.
In this Easter season, we are called to be open to how the Risen Lord reveals Himself to us. May we know His presence and love in our lives.
Fr. Phil Paxton, C.P. is on staff at St. Paul of the Cross Retreat and Conference Center, Detroit, Michigan.