Friday, April 17, 2015

Believing from personal experience

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
April 19, 2015

Luke 24:35-48

It isn't easy to believe in the Risen Jesus. Ultimately, it's something that can only be grasped and understood based on faith that Jesus himself stirs in us. If we have never experienced "within" the peace and joy that Jesus instills, it is difficult for us to find "outside" evidence of his resurrection.

Luke is telling us something about this when he describes the encounter of the risen Jesus with the group of disciples. There are all sorts among them. Two disciples are telling how they recognized him when dining with him at Emmaus. Peter says he appeared to him. Most have still not had any experience. They don't know what to think.

Then "Jesus stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you.'" The first thing for awakening our faith in the risen Jesus is to be able to sense, even today, his presence in our midst, and spread in our groups, communities and parishes the peace, joy and security that come from knowing he is alive, closely accompanying us in these times that are not easy at all for faith.

Lucas' story is very realistic. Jesus' presence doesn't magically transform the disciples. Some of them are afraid and "think they are seeing a ghost." All sorts of doubts arise within others. There are those who are "incredulous for joy." Others are "amazed."

That's what happens today too. Faith in the Risen Christ isn't born automatically and securely in us. It awakens in our hearts weakly and humbly. At the beginning, it's almost just a wish. Ordinarily, it grows surrounded by doubts and questions -- is it possible for something so great to be true?

According to the story, Jesus stays, he eats with them and devotes himself to "opening their minds to understanding" so that they can get what has happened. He wants them to become "witnesses" who can speak from their own experience and preach not just any way, but "in his name."

Believing in the Resurrection isn't a one day matter. It's a process that can last years sometimes. What's important is our inner attitude. Trusting in Jesus always. Making much more room for him in each one of us and in our Christian communities.

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