As Catholics, we celebrate Easter for fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost. At times, practically speaking, the Resurrection is the forgotten aspect of the Paschal Mystery, but it is the entire paschal mystery that is salvific for us, His suffering death and resurrection.
Christian discipleship means picking up your cross and following Jesus, but without the hope of Jesus’ Resurrection, this would be an unbearable task. Placing our hope in Him means making Him the goal of our lives. He is the one we keep our eyes on and trust that He has done the work of our redemption. He has accomplished the victory in our weak and sinful humanity.
Remember the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. It was the first day of the week. Jesus had just been crucified. Their hope for a messiah was crushed and they were leaving Jerusalem. They were leaving the twelve and other disciples. It was over.
Jesus comes alongside them and walks with them explaining the scriptures to them. They were kept from recognizing Him. He tells them, “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” When they arrived at the village, they asked Him to stay with them, and they recognized Him in “the breaking of the bread.” “Did our hearts not burn, while He opened the scriptures to us?” they exclaimed. Then they returned to Jerusalem to tell the others about what had happened.
At times, we are all on the road to Emmaus. The scriptures tell us that it is seven miles from Jerusalem, but its exact location is unknown to us, today. I like this sense of mystery around this little village because in a way we can all be heading there when we are dejected about things in our lives. We can ask, “Where is Jesus in all of this?” At times such as these, we must believe in the truth of the Resurrection. He has risen from the dead. Our hope is not in the world and things going well for us, but our hope is in Him. He is the Resurrection and the life. He has wrought our salvation. He has won the victory, and if we, as disciples, belong to Him, we will rise with Him.
The Resurrection gives us hope because Christ has won the victory for us. It is not all up to me. I cooperate with His grace with my own efforts, but in Him is our salvation. He “draws near to us” in the scriptures and certainly in the Eucharist, there we will find strength and receive His life.