No matter which of today’s Gospel readings you proclaim, a refrain echoes: the Resurrection is an encounter. In these pivotal passages of the Jesus story, the evangelists are certain to craft for us the Resurrection as a full-body, total immersion experience of encounter: an encounter with the astounding possibility of “a way out of no way,” which Mary Magdalene and Peter must have experienced upon arriving at that empty tomb; an encounter with Jesus’ nourishing presence among us even as we recall in hushed tones our disappointments, our confusion, our futile “now what?” along the way to Emmaus; a fearful and yet joyful encounter with the dazzling message that our journey with the Lord can begin again if we hurry back to the Galilee places of our hearts, our relationships, our communities, our ministries where he is waiting for us with the Spirit.
The Resurrection encounter breaks us free from the confines of that upper room where we’ve been hiding with our fear, and guilt, and grief with invitations to move our bodies and spirits with joy, and hope, and astonishment:
Run as fast as you can!
Come, see, and believe!
Do not be afraid!
Go to Galilee!
Invite him to stay!
Recount the story, again and again.
- Where in your body are you experiencing the Resurrection encounter today?
- Where are the Galilee spaces you need to hurry back to in order to encounter the risen Jesus and begin again??
- Who is with you on your Emmaus road and how can you prepare yourselves to encounter the Resurrected one in the coming days?
After eight years in the Theology Department at Fordham University, Maureen H. O’Connell returned in 2013 to her native city of Philadelphia to Chair the Department of Religion at LaSalle University where she is also an Associate Professor of Christian Ethics. She holds a BA in History from Saint Joseph’s University and a PhD in Theological Ethics from Boston College. She authored Compassion: Loving Our Neighbor in an Age of Globalization (Orbis Books, 2009) and If These Walls Could Talk: Community Muralism and the Beauty of Justice (The Liturgical Press, 2012), which won the College Theology Book of the Year Award in 2012 and the Catholic Press Association’s first place for books in theology in 2012. Her current research project explores racial identity formation, racism, and racial justice in Catholic institutions of higher education. She serves on the board of the Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies and is a member of St. Vicent De Paul parish in Germantown, where is also a member of POWER (Philadelphians Organizing to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild). POWER is an interfaith federation of 90-faith communities committed to making Philadelphia the city of “just love” (as well as “brotherly love and sisterly affection”) through a more just wage for workers, fair funding for public schools, immigration reform and decarceration.