Witnessing to our Easter faith

Al Cariño
May 4, 2003
Reproduced with Permission

Luke tells us that shortly after the appearance of Jesus on the first Easter night to the two disciples from Emmaus, they immediately returned to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples how they recognized Him "in the breaking of the bread". But before they could do so, the other disciples excitedly told them, "The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!" (Lk. 24: 35-48) From this we can see that the small circle to whom Jesus appeared felt the need to immediately communicate the good news (gospel) to each other.

On His part, Jesus felt the need to appear to His disciples to convince them that He had truly risen from the dead. Thus while the disciples were still sharing the good news of the Resurrection, He appeared again, this time to all of them.

What was their reaction as Jesus did so? They were startled and frightened, thinking that what they were seeing was a ghost. To convince them that it was really Him, He asked them to touch Him and even bring food which He ate before them. He then explained to them that what transpired in Jerusalem during the last few days was in fulfillment of what was written in the Scriptures. When they were finally convinced that He had truly risen, Jesus told them to preach in His name "to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem" so that others, too, would believe. And they were to do this as "witnesses."

This was exactly what Peter did as narrated in Acts 3:13-19. Attracted by Peter's healing of a beggar crippled from birth, he preached before the curious crowd on the Risen Lord. And many began to believe.

We believe in Jesus crucified and risen. The tragedy is for many of us, the Resurrection-event appears to have little relevance in our lives. Unlike the early disciples, we do not feel as strongly the need to discover its implications to our faith-life and thus the need to proclaim that "Jesus is truly risen!" It is perhaps because we think that everyone knows about this already anyway and so we do not see the need. But what we see happening around us is the opposite - the teachings of the risen Christ are observed more in the breach than in its practice. Thus to proclaim His message to our contemporaries is all the more necessary.

How are we to do this?

Our task to proclaim the Risen Lord is all the more urgent because more and more people are putting their faith in everything else except God, i.e., in science and technology. They assert that with their proper harnessing, all human problems will be solved. They further assert that true happiness is found in material things and thus belief in God has no relevance in contemporary life and society. They maintain that heaven is here and religion, including our faith in the Risen Lord, is a 'pie in the sky', a mere invention of ignorant, uneducated disciples and therefore to be ignored.

It is to this kind of world that we have to be witnesses to the Risen Lord. And we have to witness above all with our own lives, that despite our own frailties and sins, we can still live our Easter faith. This is what to be a witness today means. And we can accomplish all this because "Christ is truly risen!"