Acts 10:34,37-43; Colossians 3:1-4; John 20:1-9
We Are Witnesses
Despite the passage of time, the words we hear today from Peter’s speech as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles vibrate with all the joy, the power and the conviction that must have impressed those first hearers. The message is clear: the Jesus whom we witnessed preaching and healing, whom we saw crucified, we have seen now – alive!
That which allows us, these many centuries later, to hear these words again has less to do with a careful recording of mere words, than with the fact that Christians in every generation down to our own have also been witnesses. Yes, they are the ones who “believe without seeing,” but they do not simply repeat the words of others. The vitality of Christian witness is based on encounters with the risen Jesus that have made the proclamation of this day ever fresh: He is risen!
Pope Francis, in writing about the call to a New Evangelization, recalled these words of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI: “Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”
This life-changing encounter with the risen Lord ought not to be thought of as the privilege of the few, but an invitation to all. But can I dare to hope for such an encounter? How can this be my experience and not simply that of others? Pope Francis extends to us a challenging invitation: “I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her since no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.”
On this Easter Day, let us be bold in asking for this renewed encounter. Let us desire to join with the many who have not seen, but have believed, because they have encountered him. Let us be witnesses!
By Richard Gabuzda