April 18, 2021 – Third Sunday of Easter
Bishop Manny Cabajar, C.Ss.R., D.D. (Bishop-Emeritus of Pagadian)
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/041821.cfm)
If last Sunday’s gospel was on experiencing the risen Lord, today’s gospel is on sharing our faith with others. Christ wants us to be his witnesses which means that we are called first to have a personal experience of Him and then to share that experience with others. Many Christians only focus on knowing Christ without an interest in sharing their knowledge of Him with others.
When the two disciples going to Emmaus met the risen Lord, they went back to Jerusalem to share their experience with the eleven apostles. While talking with them Jesus appeared in their midst and said, ‘Peace be with you’. Christ made himself present in the process of sharing their faith experience with others. The eleven apostles were in turn enabled to experience the risen Lord. It takes no stretch of the imagination to see that for the two disciples this is a big strengthening of faith, a great empowerment. Faith is like a flame: the more a piece of wood passes the flame to others the more brightly it burns, but if it refuses to pass on the flame, it is in danger of losing even its own flame.
Jesus actively gives them His peace. He is the one who strengthens their faith and takes away their doubts. He is the one who opens their minds and explains the Scriptures to them. He is the one who declares them his witnesses. The disciples don’t do much in the encounter except open their eyes to see Him, their hearts to let in His peace, their minds to receive His instruction. When He says, “You are witnesses of these things,” they are expected to respond, “Yes, Lord!” and then go out and try to be just that.
Heavenly Father, help us to give witness to Christ, Your Son, not by arguing on controversial doctrines or theological issues but to simply relate the story of our own personal encounter with Christ, as the two disciples on the way to Emmaus did. With your grace, enable us to just share with others why we are Christians. Let us take heed of St Peter’s words, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”.
Brothers and sisters, let us be ready to give the reason for our hope!