“Running away was easy; not knowing what to do next was the hard part.”
~ Glenda Millard
We continue our celebration of Easter today considering the effects that the Lord’s death had upon His followers. We need to remember that Easter was not a long-awaited moment for them. They were not awaiting Christ’s resurrection. They were hiding in fear that they would be next. If they were not hiding, they were running.
That is where today’s Gospel story picks up in the Easter accounts. The Gospel tells us of two disciples hightailing it out of town, running to Emmaus. They were engulfed in fear and sorrow, a fear and sorrow that was so deep that they did not recognize Jesus when they met up with Him on the road. They were speaking about the events in Jerusalem and Jesus asked innocently about them. The disciples were aghast. Was there really someone who had no knowledge about what had happened?
As they poured out their story, Jesus listened. When they finished, Jesus began to explain to them about what had happened and why it had happened. The disciples found something stirring within themselves. It was an old, familiar feeling. It was deeper and more powerful than the fear that was driving them. However, it felt quite foreign since the feeling was usually only associated with Jesus.
They came to the end of a day’s journey and Jesus made as if to walk away from them. The disciples begged Him to stay with them and share a meal. During the meal, Jesus took bread, broke it, and gave it to them. At that action, the disciples eyes were opened and Jesus vanished. No longer afraid, the disciples ran back to Jerusalem to tell the others that Jesus was alive and had appeared to them.
We often run in fear. Our lives are often quite overwhelming and we want to do anything but remain with what frightens us. However, we are challenged to face our fears, to confront our fears. With the help of God, we can do so. We can even learn from our fears: learn about our world and learn about ourselves. We are made of sterner stuff than we first believe. God brings the strong out of us and helps us to shape ourselves to face the world.
Easter is not all about joy and gladness. Easter might bring with it a component of fear and sorrow. We need to look at all the facets of our lives if we are to understand ourselves and our God. Life is not always smiles and sunshine. Sometimes it is darkness and fear. With the Lord, we can face anything, embrace anything, and overcome anything.
Christ has risen as He said. Alleluia, Alleluia!
FAITH ACTION: Spend a good amount of time with the Lord today and ask Him to give you the courage that you need to face your fears.