Believe and Witness

April 24, 2022 – Second Sunday of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/042422.cfm)

As Christians, often times, we come across skeptics – people who at least doubt or disbelieve our Christian faith. Once a young man said in the heat of discussion: “I will not believe until I meet Jesus”. And a Catholic missionary retorted him: “But you cannot see if you don’t believe first. Only in faith, that you will be able to experience and witness our risen Lord Jesus Christ”.

Yes, in this day and age it is unavoidable to meet people who maintain: “To see is to believe”, i.e. to base their faith on facts, sciences and evidences. In other words, they only trust and have confidence on what are sensible, logical, and scientific. Nowadays, it is not easy for others (& even ourselves) to believe. We ask usually for signs, proofs, or evidence in order to trust and have faith on others. We need some credentials first in order for us to believe. Many at times we claim, “We will never believe until we see it”. Others would even say, “Show me the money first before I trust you”.

However, signs, facts, proofs and evidences are not the basis of our Christian faith – not even on the empty tomb of Jesus, but on the testimony and faith of the disciples and of us who experience & witness the risen Lord as He reveals Himself in our normal lives and such witness has totally transformed us.  Like the disciples in our first reading, faith in the risen Lord makes us experience the risen Lord in our lives, and make us witnesses (sharers of the Lord’s presence) to others. Such Christian faith and witnessing of our risen Lord make us Christian different from other religions.

Now, what does it entail, to witness Jesus and to be witnesses of Jesus? What does it mean, and how it is to be today’s Christian witnesses of the Lord’s resurrection?

Same way as being a witness in the court, Christian witnessing entails and requires us:

1st, to experience the events, or what is going on or happening, as it happens or unfolds in the ordinary life. This would mean we should be there present, and not absent like Thomas, at the moment when Jesus reveals himself to us.

2nd, Be conscious or aware of what is going on. Physical presence is not enough. We must pay attention to ordinary miracles that are happening in our midst. Thus, our total self must be present and sensitive with His revelations.

3rd, Let the events happen in its own course. Let things be and happen as it unfolds. Savor the moment without controlling and programming. Don’t interfere or else we become accessory & not anymore a witness.

4th, be affected by the event – be transformed by the events. Be moved, surprised, amazed, awed, inspired, and shaken by the experience.

5th, share and testify the events to others, as we have experienced and been affected by the encounter.

The same process of witnessing happened with the apostles in our gospel today. 1st, while going back to their ordinary lives of fishing and catching nothing, a man appeared and suggested them to fish in the other side of the boat. 2nd, having a great catch, they eventually recognized and became aware that the man is the risen Lord Jesus. 3rd, as no one dared to ask: “who are you”, they let Jesus invite and serve them a breakfast. 4th, with their first breakfast with the Lord, once again they are moved, transformed, and inspired to continue with their faith and mission. 5th, their very meeting and sharing bread and fish with the risen inspired them to follow Him and in feeding the Lord’s lamb in faith and life. In other words, we witness the risen Lord to others, by our being present and conscious of the Lord’s appearances in our ordinary life, meeting him naturally and affectively, and passionately share to others our faith and encounter of the risen Lord.

Again, Easter is all about the risen Lord continuously meeting us in life – appearing and making himself known to us. As the Lord meets us in our day to day lives, our experience of Him challenges us to believe, i.e. to recognize and trust Him and His ways, as well as to witness Him, i.e. to taste and see (savor) His being with and acting in us, as well as to share our experience of Him with others.

Easter season reminds us not only of Eucharist as our last supper, but more so, as our usual first breakfast with the risen Lord in our day to day witness of our faith and life. The Lord’s resurrection is thus God’s offer of life and meaning to the whole world – appealing us to Believe and Witness His son Jesus Christ, as we encounter and experience Him in our daily lives. May our Christian faith and celebration of Eucharist, as community continually inspire us to believe and witness the risen Lord to ourselves, others and to all in our lives. Amen.

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