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?
Maureen H. O’Connell, Ph.D. is associate professor and chair of religion and theology at La Salle University in Philadelphia.