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Do you recognize the risen Lord?

Easter brings with it an abundance of natural joy and reason for
celebration. The love of God poured out for us through the Incarnation,
the life, the death and now the resurrection, which today we
commemorate, of Jesus of Nazareth is made known in the most powerful
ways. The resurrection is a focal point of our faith, without which the
crucifixion would have no more meaning than the another innocent man
executed by the state. The Incarnation, the entering of God into the
world as one like us, which we commemorate at Christmas, is another
focal point — a calling to mind God’s humility and care for us. So much
does God love us that God entered our world as one like us. Now that is

One of the things that the Scripture has called my attention to this
Easter is the number of ways the friends and disciples of Jesus do and
do not recognize the risen Lord. Have you ever noticed that? Why is it
that? What were they expecting to see? What are we expecting to see?

The message from God — sent by, literally, “messengers from God” — is
“Do not be afraid” (Matt 28:5), “Do not be amazed” (Mark 16: 6), “Why
do you seek the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5) and “Why are you
weeping?” (John 20:13). There is, at first glance, a lot of confusion
and the need for a messenger from God to begin to clarify the situation,
reset the context, for it had only been a few days since the Lord was
crucified. He was supposed to be dead, or so they thought.

What do we think? What do we expect? What do God’s messengers, God’s mediators need to say to us?

I stood at before the crowd yesterday in New York City and, during
one of my seven reflections on the last words of Christ, mentioned that
the Good News according to Luke is my favorite of the Gospels. One of
the myriad reasons for this is the way the text ends. The account of the
walk to Emmaus is by far one of the most powerful stories in all of the
New Testament.

It is a story of the confusion of human expectations, we clearly do
not know what is going on sometimes. What at first seems like a tragedy,
like an end — a crucifixion perhaps — suddenly becomes a sign from God
and a confirmation of Kingdom that the Risen Lord preached in his words
and demonstrated with his deeds. Yet, how do we come to recognize the
Risen Lord?

This Easter, this is my reflection: How do I recognize the Risen
Lord? In the breaking of the bread? In the sharing of the Good News? In
the entering into relationship with another? How is it that the
disciples and friends of the Lord came to recognize him?

Originally posted at Dating God.

Daniel P. Horan

Daniel P. Horan, a Franciscan friar, is a professor of systematic theology and spirituality at Catholic Theological Union.

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