‘The Lord is Risen as he said!’ This cry rings out in the church today as it has in Christian communities for two thousand years, echoing the joy of the first disciples who saw the Risen Lord.
Fr Conor, Fr CJ, Fr Garner, Fr Richard and I wish you a joyful Easter. We pray that the Lord who is present in the midst of his church will bless you and yours.
We may think that the first disciples would have found it easier to believe in the Resurrection than we do, but the appearance of the Risen Lord to the disciples did not suddenly make believers out of them. They struggled, did not comprehend, did not believe, but the Lord, was patient with his friends and led them to Easter faith. They had failed him, but he did not fail them. They came to believe that he is the Lord, as they listened to him speak to him about the fulfilment of the Father’s plan, as they connected their experience of him with his ministry and the promises of the prophets.
The journey was one they made with their brother and sister disciples, not one they made alone. Wherever we are on the journey of faith, it is in the community of disciples that we grow toward and in Easter faith. This is true when even when we cannot gather as a community. We may be geographically distant, but we are still one on the journey of faith – one with each other and with the saints who have made the journey before us.
We may find this Easter more of a struggle than those which went before. We may be struggling with uncertainty, with isolation, with questions about where the Lord is taking us. The struggles of the first disciples encourages us. When we persevere, when we keep bringing our stories to him, we discover that he is with us and that our story finds its meaning within his story.
This odyssey we make one step at a time. The Lord does not reveal the whole journey ahead of us, but just invites us to take the next step trusting in him. As Pope Francis said in an Easter homily:
Let us go, then. Let us allow ourselves to be surprised by this new dawn and by the newness that Christ alone can give. May we allow his tenderness and his love to guide our steps. May we allow the beating of his heart to quicken our faintness of heart.
May you carry the joy of Easter in your heart and share it (safely) with everyone you meet these days. The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!