‘What Do We Need to Recognize the Risen Christ Today?’ Asks Father Antonio Rivero

Third Sunday of Easter

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 Year A

 Text: Acts 2:14.22-33; 1 Peter 1:17-21l Luke 24:13-35

 Father Antonio Rivero, L.C. is a Doctor in Spiritual Theology, Professor in the Noviciate of the Legion of Christ in Monterrey, Mexico, and Assistant of the Logos Priestly Center in Mexico and Central America, for the formation of diocesan priests.

Main Idea: To recognize the Risen Christ in our life — and more so today in the pandemic, we need eyes without cobwebs, feet without shackles and a heart without ice or glaciers.

Summary of the Message: The Risen Jesus is really among us, although it’s hard for us to see Him in the midst of so much pain and death because of the coronavirus. To be aware of His presence, we must have the eyes of faith very open to the light of the Word of God, to understand God’s signs today, very agile feet to walk through life with the wings of hope and the heart in embers and inflamed by the Eucharist to recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread. Today more than ever, let us help our dear ones at home to ask the Risen Christ for new eyes, new feet, and a new heart.

Main Points of the Idea

 In the first place, to recognize the presence of the Risen Christ — also today — we need the eyes of faith very open to allow ourselves to be illuminated by the Word of God, which is light in the path of life and explains all events to us — today, this one of the coronavirus — from the history of salvation. Sacred Scripture gives us the right view of God, of Christ, of the Church, of man and of all the events of our life. Sacred Scripture is the compass that marks the north. Without it we would have a horizontal, relative and partial view of everything, as the two disciples of Emmaus, if not an attitude of protest, blasphemy, and constant complaint. In this hard time, let us allow Christ to explain to us the Scriptures, through the Church, so that our understanding is opened and the cobwebs pulled away.

In the second place, to recognize the presence of the Risen Christ, we need very agile feet of hope. The disciples were walking distressed, as their hope was dashed by disappointment, discouragement, and disillusion. “We had hoped . . . “ On joining them on the way, Christ quickens their step, renews their hope with His presence and his word, and reproves them affectionately, as their expectations were miles away for the Lord’s ideals. He dissipates their horizontal and temporal projects and raises them to a supernatural vision so that hope is reborn in them.  And He resurrects their hope, by giving them a spiritual reading and exegesis of the events that occurred in those days —  also for us today –, which for them  — and for us — were the motive of scandal and knock for their hope. Only thus will the trials that God Permits not be a scandal, or the cross a defeat or the Blood of Christ an unnecessary waste. Let’s let Christ reprimand our flat and clipped-winged visions of His human-divine mystery, and break the shackles of our feet.

Finally, to recognize the presence of the Risen Christ we need a heart inflamed and in embers. Only thus will we invite Jesus, as these disciples did, to enter our home to celebrate His Eucharistic Pasch with us and break His bread with us in the family, in these privileged moments of compulsory confinement. Only thanks to the Eucharist will the divine ardor melt the ice of our egoism, which has us petrified, and dissipate the cloud of worries and vain queries that darken our spirit. The company of the Eucharistic Jesus is always sanctifying; the Communions — today the Spiritual Ones, afterward the Sacramental –, no matter how desolate we are have an unexpected efficacy. “Stay with us, Lord, as it is already late.” Everything is illuminated with the Eucharistic Jesus; ghosts and fears flee. It’s Jesus, but transfigured! That doubt on the way has become an ardent flame. And Jesus disappears in that moment. He wants us to pass from His carnal presence to His spiritual and Eucharistic presence.  Christ’s Resurrection inaugurates this type of presence. Let us pass — it’s what Easter means — from a materialist vision to a vision of faith. And, with agile feet, let us go out to proclaim this Good News: “Christ is Risen,” to those that live in darkness and in desolation and, today, in sadness and, perhaps, in rebellion, given the situation of the virus. The Risen Christ melted the glacial of our heart and turned it into a devouring fire. And it will kill, when He decides, this — for some “damn” –, coronavirus and for those of us that have faith “an occasion to learn some lessons we had forgotten.”

To reflect: Why does it happen to us sometimes during the Celebration of the Sunday Eucharist that our eyes don’t open to recognize Jesus, and our heart doesn’t burn when we listen to the Scriptures? Why do we go back home with the anguished heart with which we came? Could it be that we did not recognize the Lord in his Word and in the breaking of the bread and, therefore, we did not break the bread with our brothers?

To pray: with Psalm 15, read today, I want to pray thus: “Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure. For thou dost not give me up to Sheol, or let thy godly one see the Pit. Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence, there is fullness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.” You did so with the disciples of Emmaus, and I want You to do it also with me.

For any doubt, question or suggestion, here is Father Antonio’s e-mail: arivero@legionaries.org

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester

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