Today is the Feast day of St. Matthias, apostle. He was chosen by the 11 to replace Judas Iscariot, the traitor. One of the characteristics the 11 looked for in filling this role is someone that had walked with them during Jesus’ ministry and witnessed the resurrection. They wanted someone that would share the miracle of having met the Risen Lord.
Immediately after our Lord’s resurrection, His apostles and early followers would share the great news with others by exclaiming Jesus Christ has risen! And the believers would say He has risen indeed! This has become the slogan of all Emmaus brothers and sisters because this is what Cleophas and his companion heard from the others in Jerusalem when they went back to recount how they had met the Risen Lord on their way to the town of Emmaus.
This greeting of Jesus Christ has risen, was used by the early church since its’ first centuries, as a way of identifying themselves as followers of Christ. Even during the first 4 centuries of devastating persecutions, this was their greeting to everyone, not just known brothers or sisters.
Imagine, in this politically correct world, if we were to greet others that same way in our day to day life. What would people’s response be? The other day I asked someone how are you? How many times a day to we get asked that? Maybe not so much now in quarantine but dozens of times in our regular day to day life. The person responded I am blessed! What a beautiful habit to create in our lives. It is a simple response but breathing so much goodwill and I dare say creating wonderment in the other as to why we would respond this way.
You see my brothers and sisters we are called to lead a way of life that is different and sometimes jarring to others. In the early church, people knew who the Christians were because of the way they treated each other and how they treated others.
As we get ready to incorporate ourselves back into society, would it not be wonderful to practice a response to let the world know we are Christians? How do we show others we too have experienced the Risen Christ? I strongly believe greeting everyone by saying Jesus Christ has risen!, is a wonderful and eye-opening way of spreading the Good News. But if that is too embarrassing for us to say, then how about a simple I am blessed!, to those that ask how we are?
During this difficult time, as we ease back into society, let us come up with a simple but powerful way of showing we are a blessed people because we met the Risen Lord. Of course, this has to be backed up by the way we live our lives but would it not be wonderful to share the Good News of our salvation with such a simple gesture?
Jesus Christ has risen! He has risen indeed! And because of this, we are blessed!
Were are hearts not on fire?
Our beloved Emmaus meeting room!