About 10 years ago, I was out with a couple of friends of mine and we ran into a retired MLB baseball player. I didn’t know who he was, but when my friend saw him, he lit up, as this was one of his favorite baseball players growing up. He went to talk to him and asked if he could take a picture with him, and the player said yes. My friend handed me his smart phone and I clicked the button about ten times to makes sure I got the picture. As the player walks off, my friend asks, “Did you get it?” “Yes,” I said very confidently, as I handed him back the phone! He checked his phone and says, “Where is it?” I said, “It should be there — I pushed this button ten times to take the picture.” He looked at me with an angry face and said, “That’s the volume button!” To this day, for some reason my friend would rather have a stranger take a picture over me!
It seems like in today’s age, it is so easy to capture a moment with someone whom we admire, whose talent we know on some profound level, as long as they know how to work a camera. We can capture the moment with a camera and share it with friends on social media instantly, but in Jesus’ time they didn’t have the ability to take a picture. They didn’t even have the ability to get an autograph, but what they had were these encounters and the stories to share about these encounters. This way of witness has changed people forever.
In the next serval weeks, we will hear about these encounters with the Risen Christ. We will hear about this with Mary Magdala, the apostles in the upper room, the two people on the road to Emmaus and so much more. These encounters filled people with so much joy and hope that without them sharing their encounters with the Risen Christ, we would not have the Christian faith. The Resurrection of the dead is the be all and the end all of the Christian faith.
This truth is so important to us that if Jesus had not been raised from the dead, than I and all Christians of the world should just go and do something else. We are confronted with this question daily: Did it happen or not? He is either our savior who rose from the dead for us, or he is a liar and a bad man. There is no middle ground.
Through the generations we have had saints upon saints for 2000 years that dedicated their lives to express their witness to the risen Christ. They believed it in the depths of their hearts. Their belief gives us hope. Their testimonies can help us, the ones who remain in this life, to not fall back into fear: the fear that I am alone, the fear that no one cares, the fear that this is all there is to life. We Christians have true reason to hope in Christ’s promise of the Easter life. We have true reasons as the faithful not to fear what everyone else fears. They fear death, but we the faithful rejoice in what Jesus has done for us. Why do we rejoice? Because we get to go HOME! This is not our home; we are pilgrim people on an earthly journey to our Home.
The witness’ of Christ’s Resurrection is so much more powerful than instant pictures shared on social media. Their true testimony of love should give us Hope that the story of human life is not birth, life, and death. No; for Christians it is life, death, and Resurrection. If we live with Christ and die with Christ, we will rise with Christ. This Easter way of living has changed even the hardest of hearts to become great Saints. How has it changed ours? If it hasn’t or our relationship with him isn’t where we think it should be, how are we prepared for this encounter?
Once again, I want to share the vision for our parish, my hope for St David parish for this generation and the next: “Knowing Jesus is the best gift that any person can receive; that we have encountered him is the best thing that has happened in our lives, and making him known by our word and deeds is our joy.” -Pope Benedict
Jesus Christ has Risen today! Do not be afraid to experience His love!!